The Lu lab will investigate how abnormalities in the way chromosomes are modified contribute to the development of cancer. Our cells have devised a sophisticated mechanism to package DNA around proteins called histones, and chemical modifications to the histones or DNA can control which genes are activated and which are switched off. In my past work, I identified how cancer-associated mutations in proteins that modify histones or histones themselves promote tumor development. Now, my group will use state-of-the-art genetic screening technology to identify interactions between histone and DNA-modifying proteins at a global scale. By creating this genetic network, we will be able to look for vulnerabilities in cancer cells such as causes of impaired cellular differentiation, a common hallmark of tumorigenesis. Dysregulation of histone and DNA modification is becoming an important area of cancer research, and work from our group could provide a new set of principles to guide the development of tailored approaches for the treatment of cancers driven by aberrations in DNA packaging.