One of the most fascinating problems in biology is how the genome encodes regulatory programs that unfold during development and differentiation, how these programs respond to the environment (internal and external), and how defects in these programs underlie diseases. The complex and dynamic nature of living systems makes this a formidable problem. We believe that solving it requires out-of-the-box thinking, intellectual bravery, an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a freedom to take risks. At Altius we have created a sentient and collaborative environment which encourages new way of doing research which breaks away from the traditional mold.
In addition to Altius’ internal research projects and collaborative efforts which encompass the academic, biotech, technology development and the pharma sectors we participate in a number of major publicly-funded research efforts. These include:
The goal of ENCODE, now in its fourth phase, is to build a comprehensive parts list of functional elements in the human genome, including elements that act at the protein and RNA levels, and regulatory elements that control cells and circumstances in which a gene is active. As part of this international effort, Altius is mapping chromatin structure and transcription factor binding sites in human and mouse cells using DNaseI.
As part of The Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) program, Altius is creating The Center for Photogenomics which will develop revolutionary technologies that enable the direct visualization and functional profiling of human regulatory regions in intact cells. The goal is to leverage this information to pioneer novel biological and translational applications.
The Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) is establishing resource databases to enable comprehensive analysis of tissue gene expression profiles and their connection with individual genotypes. By comprehensively delineating regulatory DNA at very high resolution, and systematically identifying genetic variants that impact its function through abrogation of regulatory factor binding and perturbation of local chromatin architecture, Altius is connecting genetic variation with gene expression thereby empowering the central goal of GTEx.
Environmental Epigenomic – exploration of the conservation of perturbations of epigenomic marks in response to different environmental exposures across target tissues/cells and surrogate tissues/cells using mouse models of environmentally relevant diseases.
TOPMed program aims to collect and couple whole-genome sequencing and other -omics data with molecular, behavioral, imaging, environmental, and clinical data from studies focused on heart, lung, blood and sleep (HLBS) disorders. Altius is contributing to the collection of epigenomic data from samples from patients with HLBS disorders.