It has become apparent to me that computational biology as a field is vast. It can prove to be very quantitative, and methods and approaches used are susceptible to increasing levels of abstraction. Much of this is a by-product of the advent of Next-Generation Sequencing methods, which are able to generate large amounts of data.
The regulation of gene expression is a complex process involving many factors. It can be seen as the product of the interaction between the DNA sequence itself with proteins, protein networks, RNA, and the so-called regulatory elements – which are segments of the DNA sequence that are functional, in that they interact with, or recruit other factors which facilitate the next steps in the process. I think it is easy to appreciate the elegance of the process as we know it, as well as the fine balance of factors and the internal environment that surely must be maintained for the optimal functioning of such machinery.
I have learnt, thanks to the ENHPATHY consortium, that enhancers are one such regulatory element that are more important than previously thought, having been implicated in many regulatory networks, and therefore in many diseases. I find myself keen to uncover more about their influence over the gene regulation and, in this way, the body itself. I am fortunate to be a part of a motivated group of peers and senior researchers alike, whose research and progress I plan to follow with interest. I hope to share more with you soon!