Our aim is to understand how the structural organization of the genome contributes and influences genomic functions and notably gene expression, and how changes in this organization or perturbations of the associated mechanisms may be involved in animal evolution and human disease.

In vertebrates, the genes that control the embryonic development and differentiation of cells into the specialized sub-types that form tissues and organs are regulated  by complex sets of  non-coding genomic elements. These regulatory elements are often spread across very large genomic distances around their associated target gene(s). We are particularly interested in understanding how the activities of these arrays of cis-acting regulatory elements are integrated and transformed into target-specific and robust gene-expression programs.  In this context, we notably look at how the information laid down on a linear genome is used to properly organize specific chromatin domains and dynamic chromosomal conformations that may enable and control long-range regulatory interactions in the nucleus.

We use and develop novel in vivo genomic and chromatin engineering strategies as well as functional genomics approaches in animal models  to investigate and uncover the molecular determinants that translate a linear sequence into specific 3D domains and dispersed regulatory information into specific and robust gene expression programs. Many human pathologies, including developmental malformations and cancer, result from the perturbation of the activity of cis-acting regulatory elements or of their ability to interact with the proper target gene. By uncovering the processes that transform the specific architecture of the human genome into highly specific cis-regulatory networks, we aim not only to be able to better understand the etiology of human genomic disorders but also to identify new potential corrective approaches.