With this talk, I was most interested in the methodologies discussed, particularly with regards to the ChIP assyas vs Y1H assays. Having taken a course in bioinformatics and studying various methodologies for mapping physical interactions between regulatory genomic regions/transcription factors, this was particularly fascinating from an engineering perspective, and I went ahead and looked up her current research on the topics as well from her website to gain a better idea of her research.
High throughput methods for assaying the genetic activity are an emergent research method, and learning more about the conceptual/technical limitations of these methods is important to properly utilize them in research. Y1H methods present a gene centered, unbiased, condition-independent methodology as compared to chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, which are TF-centered, and require TFs which are highly expressed and there exist antibodies with strong binding. These methods could be particularly useful in studying the gene regulatory networks, and the research presented here reminded me a lot of the graduate course I took in systems biology this past year, where we analyzed feedback/feedforward loops and explored network analysis/properties to characterize such functional/physical interactions between proteins/genes. The methods such as that presented here would be extremely applicable to any sort of network – I’d be particularly fascinated in its application to immunological networks and its effect on the development of T cell memory, as that is what I am interested in pursuing during my graduate studies.