Welcome to the Soloway Lab at Cornell University where we study epigenetic phenomena in mammals. The term epigenetics is attributed to Conrad Hal Waddington, who used it in the early 1950's to describe environmentally induced, nongenetic changes in traits. The “epi” prefix emphasizes that mechanisms exist that can influence traits which are distinct from genetic mechanisms. Because epigenetic phenomena are reversible at a much higher rate than genetic mutations, they may play a special role in evolutionary processes.
At the molecular level, epigenetics refers to methylation of cytosines in DNA, at least six modifications placed at many positions at the N-termini of histones, and an emerging class of processes influenced by non-coding RNAs. Proper control of these modifications and regulatory mechanisms is essential for the most fundamental biological processes including gene expression, DNA repair and DNA recombination. When normal epigenetic control is lost, disease can arise. This has been best characterized in cancers, many of which develop and progress in part because of failed epigenetic control. Epigenetic status of our genome is influenced by environmental variables, including nutrients in our diets.
The fundamental focus of our lab is to understand how it is that epigenetic states are controlled. We also seek to develop novel experimental tools that will augment the discovery process.
Click on the links to the left to learn more about us, and things that are of interest to us.
Click here for a copy of Paul Soloway's NIH biosketch.
211 Weill Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
soloway at cornell dot edu
Our lab is in the newly built Weill Hall, dedicated in October, 2008