William Lai is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. He works with the Pugh lab and is interested in principles of gene regulation.
Dr. Lai’s research is directed towards understanding the fundamental mechanisms of gene regulation. DNA sequence, local and distal chromatin (protein), and RNA all play both cooperative and antagonistic roles in the decision of when and how often any particular gene is transcribed. Understanding how these biological networks make decisions is the key bottleneck in understanding how perturbations to these systems result in a disease phenotype. The primary methods used to undertake this is through a combination of classic biochemistry, next-generation sequencing assays, and machine-learning computational approaches to approach the eukaryotic genome in a holistic manner. Due to the high-level of conservation amongst eukaryotic organisms, model organisms of interest include yeast, mouse, and human.