One of our interests is to understand how some of our endocrine pancreatic genes, whilst present in every single cell of our body, are spatially and temporally regulated by heritable factors that are not associated with changes in our genetic code. DNA methylation; the addition of a methyl group to cytosine base, does not result in any change to DNA sequence, and is a well known "epigenetic" modification (“on top of” genetic code). Other known epigenetic factors include post-translational histone modifications (eg. acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation) and epigenetic modulators or compounds that regulate the activation/inhibition of enzymes engaged in modifying methyl groups.
Recent studies have identified that the vast majority of our genome is dynamically and differentially transcribed to produce a wide range of protein non-coding(nc) RNA molecules, including microRNAs and lncRNAs. The latter also fulfill regulatory roles at almost every stage of gene expression (Mercer & Mattick, 2013), from targeting epigenetic modifications to modulating mRNA stability, translation, packaging and release.
Our interest is in identifying and validating the role of multiple epigenetic modulators using animal models of multigenerational undernutrition and nutrient transition along with human clinical researc samples through our collaborators. We aim to
(i) identify the role of ncRNAs in epigenetic regulation of gene expression;
(ii) demonstrate the impact of our microbiome in epigenetics of obesity and metabolic syndrome;
(iii) design clinical trials to widen the evidence base and understand molecular mechanisms underlying generational transmission of metabolic disease.
Our studies have been supported through research funding from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, the Diabetes Australia Research Trust, Qatar National Research Foundation, Weizmann-Australia Research Fund and the Danish Diabetes Academy grants to Prof. Anand Hardikar.
Team Members: Mugdha Joglekar (WSU), Ho Pham (WSU/UTS), Wilson Wong (WSU), Vijit Saini (WSU/UTS), Anja Sorensen (Denmark)Past team members: Subhshri Sahu, Vishal Parekh, Dhawal Jain, Tejaswini Sharangdhar, Michael Williams, Sundy Yang, Nicola Hetherington, Hasinika K.A.H. Gamage, Raymond W.W. Chong, Daniel Bucio-Noble.Current collaborators: Richard Allcock (Australia), Karl Bacos (Sweden), Atul Chopra (USA), Louise Torp Dalgaard (Denmark), Jenny Gamble (Australia), Gilles Guillemin (Australia), Wayne Hawthorne (Australia), Harsh Kanhere (Australia), Tom Kay (Australia), David Martin (Australia), Arie Moran (Israel/Australia), Rinki Murphy (New Zealand), Phil O’Connell, Liisa Kautto, Malcolm S. Ball, Mark P. Molloy, Nicolle H. Packer, Ian T. Paulsen (Sydney), Mahesh Karandikar, Sarang Satoor, Ranjan Yajnik (India) and Rebecca Simmons (Philadelphia)
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