Epigenetics Podcast from Active Motif

Active Motif's Epigenetics Podcast is a lively discussion about the latest tips and techniques for epigenetics research. Podcast host Dr. Stefan Dillinger chats with experts from different fields within epigenetics about the latest research findings, the hottest epigenetics applications, and how to overcome the many challenges of ChIP and other epigenetic assays. 

How to Listen to our Epigenetics Podcast

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Click on the Apple Podcast button below, which will take you to iTunes. Once subscribed, iTunes will automatically download the latest episodes for you.

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You can also play the podcast directly from this page by clicking on the individual podcast episode below. Active Motif's Epigenetics Podcast is also available on all of the major podcast platforms, including Google Play Music, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

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The Past, Present, and Future of Epigenetics (Joe Fernandez, founder of Active Motif)

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.

Check out our blog post to learn more.


The Interchromatin Network Model (Ana Pombo)

There are many levels of control that contribute to regulating the levels of gene expression. One major mechanism of gene regulation involves organization of the genome within the nucleus. In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, our guest Professor Ana Pombo from the Max-Delbrück-Center in Berlin provides insight into her work on the interplay between gene regulation and genome architecture.

Dr. Pombo and her team use different state-of-the-art methods in their research, 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 chromatin and nuclear landmarks, such as the nuclear lamina. They also used polymer physics modeling to study those mechanisms, which lead to the development of the "Strings and Binders Switch" model of chromatin organization.

Listen to the podcast episode to learn more about this fascinating topic.


Dosage Compensation in Drosophila (Asifa Akhtar)

For many organisms, from fruit flies to humans, sex is determined by the number of X chromosomes. Females often have two copies of the X and males have one, creating an imbalance in the number of X chromosome genes present in each sex. Different organisms have evolved different strategies for how to cope with this imbalance. For example, in humans, one of the two X chromosomes in every female cell is randomly inactivated, leaving both males and females with one active X chromosome each. However, in Drosophila, the balance is achieved by males overexpressing the genes on their single X chromosome two-fold to bring up the levels of gene expression to match expression from the two X chromosomes in females. Essentially the same end result is achieved in both humans and Drosophila, balanced levels of X chromosome transcription in both males and females, but using two extremely different mechanisms.

In this episode, our guest Dr. Asifa Akhtar, Senior Group Leader and Director at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, discussed her lab's recent work on dosage compensation in Drosophila melanogaster. Dr. Akhtar talked about how the MSL complex, and the histone acetyltransferase MOF in particular, contributes to the regulation of the dosage compensation process. Furthermore, she also talked about some potential functions of the conserved MSL proteins in humans and how they are similar to and different from their fruit fly counterparts.

Check out our blog post to learn more.

Spatial Organization of the Human Genome (Wendy Bickmore)

In recent years it has become more and more evident that genome organization the nucleus plays a pivotal role in the regulation of gene expression. In this episode of our podcast we spoke with Professor Wendy Bickmore, Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh, about her work on the spatial organization of the human genome. Professor Bickmore and her team use visual methods like fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to study the organization of human and mouse chromosomes and investigate how organization of the genome contributes to transcriptional regulation. Dr. Bickmore's research group also studies how this organization changes during aging, development, and disease.

Check out our blog post to learn more.

Heterochromatin and Phase Separation (Gary Karpen)

Heterochromatin plays a pivotal role in organizing our genome in the nucleus and is probably most well known for marking inactive genomic regions. In this podcast episode our guest Gary Karpen from UC Berkeley sits down with us to talk about the regulation of this heterochromatin and how DNA repair mechanisms function in this densely packed nuclear compartment. We also discuss how phase separation might be an important part of the way that heterochromatin domains are formed.

Check out our blog post to learn more.

Diabetes and Epigenetics (Jean-Sébastien Annicotte)

Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a chronic metabolic disease that is caused by the failure of beta-cells in the pancreas and insulin resistance in peripheral tissue, and is characterized by high glucose levels in the blood. 382 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, which makes up >8% of the global population.

Due to this high proportion of people affected, it is of high interest to find a cure for this disease and tremendous efforts have been made on deciphering epigenetic regulations that control metabolic tissue function.

For several years, the research team led by Dr. Jean-Sebastien Annicotte have dissected the molecular links between insulin producing cells, insulin target tissues, and T2D/obesity development. Their research has specifically been focused on the role of cell cycle regulators and their transcriptional co-regulators in the control of metabolic homeostasis, T2D and obesity.

In this podcast episode, we caught up with Dr. Jean-Sebastien Annicotte to discuss his views on type 2 diabetes and the roles of epigenetic mechanisms in regulating this disease.

 Check out our blog post to learn more.  

Epigenetics and X-Inactivation (Edith Heard)

In this episode of our Epigenetics Podcast, we sat down with Professor Edith Heard, the Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), to talk about the challenges and goals of her new position as DG of the EMBL and her research on X-inactivation and dosage compensation.

Chromatin Organization (Susan Gasser)

In this episode of our Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Professor 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.

Epigenomics (Henk Stunnenberg)

In this episode of our Epigenetics Podcast, we chatted with Professor Henk Stunnenberg, head of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, to discuss his scientific work which led him to epigenetics research. Topics include his establishment of the BLUEPRINT and Human Cell Atlas consortia, a European collaborative database of at least 100 reference epigenomes of blood cells from healthy donors and their malignant counterparts, and his feelings about his recent knighthood.

Aging and Epigenetics (Peter Tessarz)

In this episode of our Epigenetics Podcast, we were joined by Dr. Peter Tessarz from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, and discussed the factors that influence the aging process in humans, how epigenetics comes into play, and how Peter's research can lead to a longer and healthier life.

Cancer and Epigenetics (David Jones)

In this episode of our Epigenetics Podcast, we visited Dr. David Jones at the DKFZ in Heidelberg to talk about the implications of epigenetics in cancer. We also talked about David's contributions to the field of pediatric brain tumors and the role of large consortia in doing science today and in the future.

The Nucleosome: From Atoms to Genomes (Ada and Don Olins)

In this episode of our Epigenetics Podcast we sat down with Ada and Don Olins at the EMBO meeting on "The Nucleosome: From Atoms to Genomes" to talk about their outstanding scientific journey together as a married couple and their perspectives on the future of the chromatin field.

Multiple Challenges in ChIP (Adam Blattler)

In this first episode of the Active Motif Epigenetics Podcast we chatted with Dr. Adam Blattler from the R&D team at Active Motif and discussed the multiple challenges of ChIP, the critical points of the ChIP protocol, as well as possible pitfalls.

Chromatin immunoprecipitation has become a very powerful method to study protein-DNA interactions, identify the binding profiles of DNA binding proteins, and determine whether specific proteins are associated with specific genomic regions. However, the workflow is complicated and involves many steps, so extensive experience and optimization are often required to achieve the best results. 

Check out our Guide to Generating the Best ChIP Data on our blog for more details.