Peter W. Lewis, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Department of Biomolecular Chemistry
Institution
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Address
330 N. Orchard Street
Room 2174
City, State, Zip
Madison, WI 53715
Phone
(608) 316-4388
E-mail
plewis[at]discovery.wisc.edu
Website
http://lewislab.discovery.wisc.edu
Research Field
Biochemistry
Award Year
2016

Research

My lab investigates how changes in chromosome structure affect animal development. Chromosomes consist of DNA wrapped around histone proteins like thread around a spool. But histones do more than keep DNA compact: They carry different kinds of chemical modifications that aid in the activation or silencing of nearby genes. These histone modifications are proposed to constitute a form of inherited information that help to maintain cell identity. Yet each time a cell divides, its DNA must be unraveled for replication—and its histones are removed and then replaced. When this replacement takes place, the impact on the histones' chemical code is not well-understood. I will develop molecular tools to study how specific histone modifications are transmitted through successive cell divisions. Because dysregulation of histone chemical marks has been shown to contribute to the formation of tumors, understanding how modified histones are distributed and maintained could lead to new treatments for a variety of cancers.