October 2021: Viny Lab
What is the main focus of your lab?
My lab is focused on the incredible capacity of hematopoietic stem cells to make fate decisions in terms of self-renewal versus pluripotent lineage specification. This process involves differential gene expression and transcription factor orchestration, but we’ve learned from large scale sequencing efforts in cancer that epigenetic regulators of chromatin structure are commonly mutated in cancer and it turns out that these chromatin regulators are key to this fate decision process. For example, there are different interferon response genes in a myeloid cell versus a lymphoid cell and much of this is regulated by dynamic changes in DNA accessibility. We aim to determine the mechanistic drivers of dynamic changes in chromatin state and interrogate how this influences lineage potential both in normal hematopoiesis and in cancer.
How long have you had your lab? When did you join Columbia University?
259 days. I joined Columbia in September 2020, but my lab came January 2021.
How big is your lab currently?
A mighty group of five brave souls!
Where is your lab located?
William Black Building, 11th Floor – The heart of CSCI!
What are the model systems that your lab is using?
We are using floxed alleles for Tet2, Stag2, and Npm1, and a straight knock-in of Flt3ITDbut stay tuned as we have some cool dual-recombinase “on-off” systems that we are soon to be testing.
What are the key techniques that your lab is using? Are you open to training scientists from other labs?
We use many epigenetic and chromatin assays that we’d be happy to share. These are adapted for low cell input and include ATACseq, ChIPseq, DNA methylation assays, and Hi-C/Hi-ChIP.
What facilities or equipment does your lab absolutely rely upon? Do you use CSCI cores?
Michael and Rose from the CSCI flow core run the best flow core in the business. We love to work with them, learn from them, and develop/benchmark new assays with them.
What's your best approach to mentoring trainees in the lab?
As a new PI, my approach to mentoring is to be nimble and adaptable. My job is to be the right soil for each mentee to grow best. I was the product of really tremendous mentoring and finding the right mentor-mentee relationship cannot be overstated.
Are you accepting rotating students at the moment?
How do members of your lab celebrate accomplishments?
Food! We also had US Open tickets, but we got rained out…
What was the most exciting part about starting your new lab?
There are so many exciting parts to starting a new lab but I really felt “official” when we started our lab twitter. Follow us @cohesinlab!
What was the main reason of you joining CSCI? What are the beneficial aspects of CSCI membership for your lab?
This is an amazing community of scientists with orthogonal approaches and systems and techniques. This environment will challenge us to elevate our work in ways we wouldn’t organically go. Plus that break room plant wall, am I right?
What do you plan to bring to the CSCI community?
A culture of collaborative science aimed to improve the lives of patients that emphasizes the principle that progress in medicine rests on a fundamental understanding of physiology (adapted from “Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein, “The Golden Era of Nobel Laureates”, Science, 2012”)