Our research interest is at the interface of virus and eukaryotic genomes, with an emphasis on mobile DNA elements in the context of genome systems. We aim to understand how transposable elements (TEs) shape genome function and evolution. As viral invaders of eukaryotic genomes, TEs triggered the evolution of epigenetic mechanisms and they are literally the “building blocks” of epigenomes. We have established experimental systems to study the activity and regulation of TEs. We have also developed and implemented computational algorithms for genomic analyses of TEs.
Our research interest is focusing on four topics: (1) Activity of MITEs in Yellow Fever Mosquito and their use for pest control. Studies on the regulation of their autonomous elements will reveal how these elements evade host epigenetic control; (2) Birth and dramatic amplification of MITEs. Two MITE families that we have been working on recently are ideal materials for such in-depth exploration; (3) Transposition and regulation of novel eukaryotic DNA TEs. Assays I established previously will be improved for studies of novel elements particularly those in the newly identified superfamilies; (4) Roles of TEs in host genome function and evolution. Computational analyses and subsequent experimental studies will discover profound influence of TEs on host genomes. In addition to quality publications, our research can potentially lead to powerful biotech applications for pest control, transgenesis, gene discovery and gene therapy.