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Gene Regulation Underlying Cell Type Diversity

Research Summary

Zhe Liu is interested in dissecting cell fate control mechanisms during animal development.

Animals' bodies are made up of a spectrum of cell types that are "neatly" organized to form functional organs. I am interested in mechanisms of gene regulation that give rise to this cell diversity during animal development. Having completed PhD-level biochemistry and genomics research, I am now shifting my research focus to live-cell microscopy. I will apply the fast-advancing imaging techniques developed at the Janelia Farm Research Campus to understand the missing links between transcriptional regulation and cell fate determination.

The Model System

In vitro differentiation of embryonic stem cell provides a minimal system to isolate and study critical regulatory factors of cell-fate commitment. I use this system to understand how DNA information is selectively decoded to trigger cell-type diversification during early embryonic lineage segregation. I am also interested in complementing in vitro differentiation with proper mouse models to decipher in vivo physiology. I am collaborating with several researchers at Janelia, including the Transcription Imaging Consortium (consisting of the labs of Carl Wu, Robert Singer, and Robert Tjian) and the labs of Eric Betzig and Philipp Keller to study (1) dynamic protein-DNA interactions in the nucleus, (2) long-range genome organization, and (3) the links between gene expression kinetics and cell-fate choices.

As of March 13, 2014

Scientist Profile

Janelia Junior Fellow
Janelia Research Campus
Cell Biology, Systems Biology