BME Lecture: Chang Lu, Virginia Tech
Title: Microfluidics for Low-input Epigenomic Profiling in the World of Precision Medicine
Abstract: Precision medicine requires comprehensive analysis of the molecular drivers of a disease for individual patients and use of the information to devise therapeutic procedures. In the post-genome era, such analysis benefits tremendously from the decreasing cost of next-generation sequencing and the improvement in big data processing. However, a critical technical barrier still exists for establishing genome-wide profiles using tiny amounts of samples extracted from patients and lab animals. In this seminar, I will discuss our efforts using microfluidics as a versatile platform for profiling epigenomes based on a low number of cells in the context of precision medicine. The epigenome turns on and off genes in a highly dynamic fashion and forms another layer of regulation on top of gene sequence. We developed MOWChIP-seq to profile histone modifications using as few as 100 cells (2015 Nature Methods). We have also explored incorporating sonication-based shearing and immunoprecipitation for improved integration of these assays. These new technologies will generate insights into disease processes and help create personalized treatment strategies.
Biography: Chang Lu is a professor of chemical engineering at Virginia Tech. He obtained his bachelor's degree in chemistry with honors from Peking University in 1998 and a doctorate in chemical engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002. He then spent two years as a postdoctoral associate in applied physics at Cornell University. His research is in the general area of developing microfluidic tools and technologies for molecular/cellular manipulation and analysis, with a recent focus on profiling epigenomes using tiny amounts of samples to understand disorders and processes such as cancer, inflammation, stem cell differentiation and brain development. Lu is a recipient of the Wallace Coulter Foundation Early Career Award, NSF CAREER Award, and the Virginia Tech Dean’s award for research excellence, among a number of other honors. He was named a faculty fellow at Virginia Tech in 2012.