Every cell in our body has the same hard-wired DNA code, yet this code is interpreted differently to generate unique cell types with distinct functions over the course of our lifetime. How this is accomplished and controlled is an area of active research that will be covered in the upcoming joint meetings “Higher-Order Chromatin Architecture in Time and Space” and “Skirting Mendel: Non-Classical Mechanisms of Phenotypic Variation, Inheritance and Disease,” where Reviews Editor Dr. Alex Eve of the The Company of Biologists journal Development will exploring this dynamic research landscape.
In this Q/A, he shares insights into the field, and what he looks forward to at the meeting. He and other attendees will hear about the latest advances in our understanding of these complex chromatin architecture dynamics, which underlie developmental processes, distinct cellular and tissue functions, and malfunction in disease. The program will cover exciting new frontiers in the field, including:
- Genome Reconfiguration in Development
- Genome Misfolding in Disease
- Causes and Consequences of Genome Folding on Genome Function
- Spatiotemporal Genome Folding Dynamics
- Visualizing Genome Folding in Single Cells
- Mechanistic Insights from Imaging and Engineering the 3D Genome
Follow up-to-the-minute coverage of the “Higher-Order Chromatin Architecture in Time and Space” meeting on Twitter:
An Interview with Dr. Alex Eve, Reviews Editor for The Company of Biologists journal Development
Why are you attending this conference? What do you hope to get out of it?
Dr. Alex Eve: I’m relatively new to the journal so the conference is a lot of firsts for me. It’s my first time in Canada, my first Keystone Symposium and, most importantly, the first chromatin and genetics meetings I’ve attended (my research background is in signaling and organogenesis).
For me, I think the conference will be a great introduction to the field, but also to the community. One can get an idea of science from research papers and reviews, but it is more difficult to engage a community solely through publications.
All-in-all, it will be a great opportunity to get an idea of where the field is moving, the new questions that are being tackled and to hear about what Development as a journal can do to help its progress.
How does this conference fit into the research landscape of the field?
Dr. Alex Eve: I think the fields of chromatin and epigenetics are really blooming at the moment and these meetings really benefit from being quite broad – there’s a bit of everything! As I heard from the Q&A with Andrew Pospisilik (below) the meeting will bring together researchers from different fields with unique perspectives. Having a joint meeting also combines researchers investigating chromatin dynamics and genome function, and those studying inheritance and complex genetic traits. I think fostering interactions between these two fields will be a great opportunity to piece together the molecular basis for intricate phenotypes.
What types of stories are do you expect to hear about at this meeting? Why do you think these stories are important to share with the global scientific community?
Dr. Alex Eve: I’m really interested to hear everything, but with a particular focus on the scope of Development. I’d be interested to hear the stories that discuss epigenetic regulation of developmental processes, but also the mechanisms that underlie regeneration, and stem cell differentiation, plasticity and pluripotency.
What new directions and insights are you expecting to discover? What new frontiers are being addressed at this meeting?
Dr. Alex Eve: I think that the chromatin and epigenetics field is really being driven by advances in new technology. So, I’ll be really interested to hear about the new tools, approaches and techniques that are being developed, and how they are being applied to answer fundamental questions about embryonic development and cell fate control.
How does this meeting fit into Development’s recent coverage of this field?
Dr. Alex Eve: Very well! Chromatin and epigenetics has been a key focus of the journal for some time, evidenced by our:
- Subject Collection https://dev.biologists.org/collection/chromatinepigenetics
- Special Issue https://dev.biologists.org/content/146/19
The Special Issue was edited by four of our academic editors: Benoit Bruneau, Haruhiko Koseki, Susan Strome and Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla. I’m looking forward to catching up with Benoit and Maria-Elena who will also be attending the meeting!
About the Author:
Alex Eve, PhD
Reviews Editor, Development
The Company of Biologists
Alex Eve joined the Company of Biologists in 2018. Before moving into publishing, he was employed as an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and received his PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from University College London in 2015.