The central research mission of IBGS is the support of research into the mechanisms by which molecules and cells coordinate organism development and function using model systems and genomics approaches. Scientists working with a broad range of experimental tools across genetically tractable organisms and systems of reduced complexity will define the normal and pathological functions of the new human disease genes that emerge from the genomics revolution.
IBGS will foster quantitative and genomic approaches for the study of development, ranging from the biochemical function of individual molecular machines performing fundamental cellular processes to the physiology of whole organisms. The strategy will be “functional genomics,” broadly defined as basic research into genome structure and function as well as the molecular mechanisms by which the RNA and proteins encoded in the genome direct cell, organ and whole organism functions.
What We Do
IBGS emphasizes the use of experimental systems that combine the power of genetic, biochemical/chemical, and cell biological approaches, including non-mammalian model organisms such as yeasts, flies, worms, frogs, zebrafish, and plants. Discoveries made using model systems have and will continue to provide numerous paradigms of cellular function and tissue and organ development that are important to the etiology and treatment of human disease.
For example, our fundamental understanding of the regulation of cell division, cell death, and cell communication during development was obtained from research using yeasts and frogs, worms, and fruit flies, respectively. These basic cellular processes are disrupted in nearly every human disease, and drugs targeting these pathways are now used routinely in the clinic. The following information from NIH and short editorials by international leaders in biological and genome sciences articulate this point very well.
- NIH Model Organism Fact Sheet
- Huda Zoghbi, Science 2013
- Marc Kirschner, Science 2013
- Botstein and Drubin, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2012
- Gitler and Lehmann, Science 2012
- Wangler and Bellen, Genetics 2015
- Video: How basic research in model organisms leads to treatment of human disease, FASEB 2013
- Another Nobel Price for the Fruit Fly, New York Times 2017
- Why we can’t cure cancer with a moonshot, by Dr. Bill Kaelin, The Washington Post 2020
- Another win for curiosity-driven research
IBGS also drives innovation by integrating emerging cutting edge technologies in chemical biology with the translational research pipeline. IBGS faculty in the Department of Chemistry have developed tools for RNA structure analysis (SHAPE technology), NMR studies of protein structure in living cells, and structural insights into new approaches to cancer therapeutics. Current efforts are focused on applying these tools to frontier problems in human disease including development of new targets and therapeutics for HIV, understanding Parkinson’s disease, and improving drug tolerance and efficacy in chemotherapy.
3356 Genome Sciences Bldg., CB #7100
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7100
Parking and Directions:
Public parking is available at either the Dogwood Deck on Manning Drive or the Rams Head Deck on Ridge Road. Public parking information can be found here.