Joe Fernandez, the founder of Active Motif, has played a significant role in the evolution of the biotechnology industry. He’s seen where the industry has been, and he has a good idea where it’s going. 

Prior to founding Active Motif in 1999, Joe was a co-founder of Invitrogen where he helped revolutionize molecular cloning with the TOPO TA kit. Joe’s passion for disrupting established workflows by making them easier and more efficient didn’t stop there. With Active Motif, he launched the first ever ChIP kit in 2003, and the company now offers the most complete portfolio of ChIP kits for different workflows and sample types, the highest quality ChIP-validated antibodies, and the most comprehensive and most cited end-to-end Epigenetic Services. 

In this interview, we sat down with Joe to learn how he got started in science, what he’s currently excited about, and what he thinks will be the next big thing in epigenetics research.  

 

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In this Episode of the Epigenetics Podcast our guest Ana Pombo from the Max-Delbrück-Center in Berlin provides insight in her work on the interplay between gene regulation and genome architecture. To do so she and her team use different state of the art methods, including cryo-sectioning to unravel this regulatory network. In 2006, they proposed the Interchromatin Network Model of chromosome organization which postulates that chromosome folding is driven by contacts between different genomic regions and between chromatin and nuclear landmarks, such as the nuclear lamina. And later on they used polymer physics modeling to study those mechanisms, which lead to the development of the Strings & Binders Switch (SBS) model. And this is just a glimpse of the topics that are discussed in this Episode.

 

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Dosage compensation is an essential process to regulate the gene expression of the X-chromosome in female and male flies. Thereby the mechanism of regulation in humans and in drosophila is different. In humans one X-chromosome is randomly shut down in females compared to men, whereas in drosophila equilibrium is achieved by overexpression of the single X-chromosome in males. In this Episode our guest Dr. Asifa Akhtar provides information on her work on dosage compensation in drosophila melanogaster and how the MSL-complex, the Histone-acetyltransferase MOF work together in this process. Furthermore, she also talks about potential functions of those Proteins in the human system.

 

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In recent years it has become more and more evident, that genome folding and chromatin packaging into the nucleus plays a pivotal role in the regulation of gene expression. In this Episode of our Podcast our host Dr. Stefan Dillinger spoke with Professor Wendy Bickmore about her work on the spatial organization of the human genome. Prof. Bickmore and her team mainly use visual methods like fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) to study the organization of chromosomes in human and murine cells and how they contribute to transcriptional regulation and how this organization changes during ageing, development or disease.

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Heterochromatin plays a pivotal role in organizing our genome in the nucleus and separating active from inactive genomic regions. In this Podcast Episode our Guest Gary Karpen from UC Berkeley sits down with our Host Stefan Dillinger to talk about the regulation of this chromatin structure and how DNA repair mechanisms function in this densely packed nuclear compartment. Furthermore, they also discuss how phase separation might be an important part in how heterochromatin domains are formed.

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Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a chronic metabolic disease, which is caused by the failure of beta-cells in the pancreas and insulin resistance in peripheral tissue and characterized by high glucose levels in the blood. World-wide 382 Million people suffer from Diabetes which makes up 8,3% of the population. Due to this high proportion it is of high interest to find a cure for this disease.

The restoration of β-cell mass and function has therefore become a field of intensive research seeking for the next generation of anti-diabetic drugs. Tremendous efforts have been made on deciphering epigenetic regulations that control metabolic tissue function. For several years, the team led by Dr. Jean-Sebastien Annicotte has dissected the molecular links between insulin producing cells, insulin target tissues and T2D/obesity development. Especially, the team research has been focused on the role of cell cycle regulators and their transcriptional co-regulators in the control of metabolic homeostasis, T2D and obesity.

 

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In the seventh Episode of Active Motif's Epigenetics Podcast our host Dr. Stefan Dillinger sat down with Prof. Edith Heard, designated Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), to talk about the challenges and goals of her new position as Director General of the EMBL. Furthermore, they also talk about her research on X-inactivation and dosage compensation.

 

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In the sixth Episode of Active Motif's Epigenetics Podcast our host Dr. Stefan Dillinger sits down with Prof. Susan Gasser, director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, to talk about her research on heterochromatin, its localization in the nucleus and factors that are involved in the anchoring genomic regions at the nuclear periphery.

 

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In the fifth Episode of the Epigenetics Podcast of Active Motif our host Dr. Stefan Dillinger sits down with Prof. Henk Stunnenberg, full professor and head of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, to talk about his research in Epigenetics and his contributions to the BLUEPRINT and Human Cell Atlas consortia.

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The ageing population and challenges that arise from ageing are one of the great scientific challenges of this time. In the fourth Episode of the Epigenetics Podcast from Active Motif, our host Dr. Stefan Dillinger talks with Dr. Peter Tessarz from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing about his contributions to the field of ageing and also, which epigenetic factors play a role in this process.

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