Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic processes. Epigenetics is the term used to described covalent modifications to DNA and histones which constitute a set of inherited changes in gene expression, without changing the underlying DNA sequences. By developing chemical probes against the proteins that regulate these epigenetic modifications, we hope to gain a better understanding of their mechanisms and how they influence the expression of genes.
Our current major research focus is histone demethylases (KDMs), a biomedically important family of oxygenase enzymes (> 20 enzymes) involved in modulating the methylation levels on histone tails. KDMs are strongly linked to many cancers and ischaemic diseases. We utilize a wide range of biochemical, biophysical and cellular techniques to study the functions of these enzymes. We have also developed a number of chemical tools for KDMs and related oxygenases. We work at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine, and many of our projects are highly collaborative.