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Joseph Ecker studies plant, mouse, and human cells to decipher epigenetic processes during development and disease. Combining newly developed methods with genome- and methylome-sequencing, Ecker’s lab group measures changes in the epigenome, exploring, for example, how adding molecules such as methyl or hydroxy-methyl groups to the backbone of DNA can help cells fine-tune gene expression. Much of the team’s work on mouse and human epigenomics is focused on the brain. By understanding how the genome and epigenome communicate with one another, they aim to untangle the complexity of regulatory processes that underlie both normal development and disease.