The Chuong lab is interested in understanding the forces that shape gene regulatory evolution. Our interdisciplinary research program incorporates genomic analysis, immunology, and genome engineering to address exciting questions in genome regulation and evolution. We are particularly interested in uncovering the impact of endogenous retroviruses on human evolution (especially in immunity and reproduction) as well as diseases such as cancer. We’re looking for researchers at all levels, so please contact me if you’re interested in joining the team! (est. start date Summer 2018)
November 2016: Transposable elements are genomic parasites that are masters of hijacking the cell to promote their own replication. At the same time, they provide a rich stock of “pre-made” regulatory elements ripe for evolutionary co-option by the host. A number of recent studies provide evidence that transposable elements have contributed to the evolution of plants, insects, and mammals. Read more in our review, just published in Nature Reviews Genetics.
March 2016: Vertebrate genomes are littered with remnants of ancient retroviruses. Our study, just published in Science, reveals that some of these viral elements have been domesticated to help activate the innate immune response against modern-day viruses. As Sun Tzu stated in The Art of War, “The opportunity for defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” It seems host-virus evolutionary battles are no exception.