“Interspecies Variation in Transcription Factors Occupancy: Insights into Comparative Genomic Approaches”

Beirut campus, Byblos campus

The Department of Computer Science and Mathematics is hosting a seminar titled “Interspecies Variation in Transcription Factors Occupancy: Insights into Comparative Genomic Approaches” by Dr. Pierre Khoueiry from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) – Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract: Embryo development depends on the precise activity of developmental genes. This process is under the control of non-coding DNA sequences named cis-regulatory modules (CRMs). CRMs contain short stretches of DNA sequences, or motifs, necessary for the binding of specific proteins named transcription factors. Disruptions in the sequence of those motifs affect the binding of transcription factors and lead to developmental defects and diseases, like cancer.

My work aims at identifying CRMs, understanding their architecture and how they evolve. For this, I use comparative genomic approaches to reveal insights into CRMs evolution.

Recent high throughput sequencing technologies allow the identification of thousands of in-vivo binding instances of transcription factors, facilitating the identification of CRMs. Using bioinformatic approaches, we identified thousands of CRMs that are conserved, and others that are not, between two distantly related fly species, Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila virilis. Hierarchical clustering of the identified conserved CRMs revealed distinct categories facilitating their classification. Furthermore, we showed that transcription factor presence or absence affects the binding of other transcription factors indicative of conditional binding.

During my talk, I will present our recent findings with emphasis on computational approaches for comparative genomic studies using next generation sequencing techniques. I will address also the needs and prospects for genomics research in light of the challenges and opportunities in the new genomics and personalized medicine eras.

This event will be available in Nicol Hall room 222 on the Beirut campus, and in Frem 203 in the Byblos campus.

All are welcome to attend.