Dr. Samantha Pattenden, Associate Professor within the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, and Director of Applied Epigenetic Screening Technologies in the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, and Dr. Ian Davis, Professor, Pediatrics and Genetics, and Associate Division Chief, Hematology/Oncology, UNC Lineberger were awarded a $1.6 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). They will apply a cavitation enhancement technology developed in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Dayton in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering UNC and NC State to extract chromatin from archived tissues. Part of this work will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Fei Zou and Dr. Di Wu in the Department of Biostatistics at UNC.
Innovative new technologies that enable experimentally robust interrogation of epigenetic mechanisms are needed to broaden our understanding of epigenetic regulatory pathways in human development, disease, and therapeutic resistance. Formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues contain a wealth of information on human disease, however, extraction of high-quality chromatin (DNA together with associated nuclear proteins) from these samples for use in epigenetic assays has proven virtually impossible. We will explore the use of a unique cavitation enhancement reagent in simplifying and standardizing chromatin extraction from FFPE tissues, with the goal of making archived biospecimens available for a broad range of epigenetic-based biomedical research.