Dr. Gaffney was awarded a new R01 research grant from the NIH to study how the genetic risk variants associated with SLE influence disease phenotype. Dr. Gaffney’s research team recently published a research manuscript highlighting how inherited genetic risk variants influence gene expression by altering how the chromatin folds in 3D space (Pelikan, et al. 2018). Chromatin folding is a tightly regulated process that ensures the interactions between specific non-coding regulatory regions of DNA and the genes that they control.
Our new research grant, titled “Epigenome-guided causal variant discovery and mechanisms”, will use these findings as a launching pad to identify genetic risk variants in SLE that influence the chromatin network and drive changes in the expression of genes involved in SLE pathogenesis.