Joseph R. Ecker
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Election Year: 2006
Primary Section: 25, Plant Biology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Member
Since joining the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the year 2000, my laboratory has largely focused on functional genomic studies of the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana and of human cells. We are especially interested in the identification and characterization of components in signal transduction pathways that regulate growth and development. A major focus of my laboratory has been aimed at the development of genome-wide approaches to interrogate gene functions including large collections of sequence-indexed mutations, whole genome tiling microarrays to functionally annotate the transcriptome and methylome and ultra-high throughput DNA sequencing methods to explore the natural genetic variation in genomes. A unifying aim of these studies is the capture of unbiased genome-wide data sets which are a prerequisite to the development of cell-based connectivity maps of the genome and the epigenomes. We have begun applying these approaches to carryout large-scale analysis of gene expression, virus integration and DNA methylation in the human genome in particular during stem cell development. We strongly believe that the application of "omic" technologies will enable systems biology approaches and provide new insights into processes controlling plant and human development.