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Dr. Winston Timp is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His research focuses on epigenetics.
His team is currently engaged in integrating information from genetics, epigenetics and systems biology to decipher the biophysical basis of gene regulation.
Dr. Timp earned bachelor degrees in biochemistry, chemistry, physics and electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana. He then earned his master’s and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked at the Whitehead Institute in Paul Matsudaira’s lab, focusing his thesis work on the study of cellular communication in a 3D microenvironment. After receiving his doctorate, he trained as a postdoc at Johns Hopkins in the labs of Andrew Feinberg and Andre Levchenko, studying the epigenetics of cancer.
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Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in phenotype through a mechanism other than genetic sequence—e.g., DNA cytosine methylation, histone post-translational modifications, nucleosome positioning and chromatin organization. Epigenetic signatures differ between somatic cells and stem cells and between different tissue types, and are dysregulated in cancer. The epigenetic state has a strong effect on how genes are regulated, but the mechanism for this regulation is still being explored.
The Timp Lab is focused on two areas: parsing the biophysical mechanisms of epigenetics on a single molecule basis and dissecting how epigenetics affects and is affected by signal transduction on a single-cell basis via control of the cellular microenvironment. These two areas of research are synergistic; single molecule research is a bottom-up approach informing new targets to explore via FISH or immunofluorescence, or new signal pathways. The single-cell approach will reveal new epigenetic patterns, which researchers can then explore using the single molecule toolset.
Lab Website: Timp Lab
Selected PublicationsView all on Pubmed
Norris AL, Workman RE, Fan Y, Eshleman JR, Timp W. "Nanopore sequencing detects structural variants in cancer." Cancer Biol Ther. 2016;17(3):246-53. doi: 10.1080/15384047.2016.1139236. Epub 2016 Jan 19
Timp W, Bravo HC, McDonald OG, Goggins M, Umbricht C, Zeiger M, Feinberg AP, Irizarry RA. "Large hypomethylated blocks as a universal defining epigenetic alteration in human solid tumors." Genome Med. 2014 Aug 26;6(8):61. doi: 10.1186/s13073-014-0061-y. eCollection 2014
Kurz V, Nelson EM, Perry N, Timp W, Timp G. "Epigenetic memory emerging from integrated transcription bursts." Biophys J. 2013 Sep 17;105(6):1526-32. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.08.010
Timp W, Feinberg AP. "Cancer as a dysregulated epigenome allowing cellular growth advantage at the expense of the host." Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Jul;13(7):497-510. doi: 10.1038/nrc3486. Epub 2013 Jun 13
Timp W, Comer J, Aksimentiev A. "DNA base-calling from a nanopore using a Viterbi algorithm." Biophys J. 2012 May 16;102(10):L37-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.04.009. Epub 2012 May 15