Genomes are spatially organized within the nucleus, but this spatial organization can be altered to facilitate changes in expression, differentiation, and cellular state. The Brickner lab has used Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model to establish that the positioning of genes at the nuclear periphery is controlled by cis-acting, upstream “DNA zip-codes” through interaction with the Nuclear Pore Complex (NPC).
My thesis project will employ optogenetics and microfluidics to quantitatively analyze the movement of genes from the nuceloplasm to the nuclear periphery. In addition, I am developing a cross-linker free method for quantifying zip-code mediated, genome-wide interchromosomal-interactions. Using these techniques, I will seek a deeper understanding of how gene trafficking and chromatin dynamics control inducible expression.