Transcriptional regulation is a complex process requiring the recruitment of RNA Polymerase to directed sites of transcription, modification of the local chromatin structure, and coordinated splicing and export of the novel transcript. A breakdown in the coordination of this process, such as misdirected transcription which inappropriately activates genes that alter the cells normal behaviour, can result in the development of cancer. In order to clearly understand the exact nature of the defect, it is often necessary to acquire a global view of the system.

Our research team is currently interested in using cutting-edge, high-throughput technologies such as microarrays and next-generation sequencing to elucidate the connections underlying transcriptional activity and cellular behaviour. To understand this in the context of cancer biology, we are currently using these approaches to characterize primary Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) patient samples in order to identify mutations giving rise to the disease. Additionally, we use fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) as a model system to study the recruitment of RNA Polymerase II and its behaviour during transcription. Gaining a better understanding of the molecular machinery behind these processes will ultimately better enable us to develop novel drugs to treat cancer.