Darren Cusanovich

Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute

Member of the Graduate Faculty

I am interested in understanding how the human genome regulates itself to bring about all of the cellular diversity present in our bodies. In addition, I am interested in how genetic variation and environmental exposures in human populations impact that regulation and sometimes lead to complex disease. The particular disease model that I focus on is asthma, a complex disease affecting ~10-20% of the population. The reasons I think that single-cell approaches would be particularly applicable to asthma are: (1) the disease involves complex interactions between many cell types of the lung and immune system that are difficult to model; And (2) there are several exquisitely detailed examples of gene-environment interactions that influence asthma outcomes many years later, but we still know relatively little about the molecular mechanisms that lead from exposure to disease. To study these phenomena, I use single-cell genomics technologies so that we can evaluate the impact of genetic and environmental variability from the perspective of whole tissues rather than having to isolate individual cell types or use simplistic cellular models. Working at the nexus of functional genomics, computational biology, and cellular biology, my group is both experimental and computational and often has to develop novel technologies or methods to address our research questions.

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Start Date

August 2022

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