A cell or organism's ability to adapt to stress has major impacts on both its evolutionary success, and its potential to transform into diseased states. All scales of life are subject to this truth. Genetically encoded traits store selected information that protects against numerous destabilizing forces, experienced over evolutionary timescales. Epigenetic traits can promote rapid phenotypic change, controlling how the complexly evolved genome is expressed upon stress or novel environmental signals.
The Garcia Lab aims to uncover, in molecular detail, epigenetic traits that influence how cells respond to stress and new environments. We mix molecularly focused analyses and high-throughput experiments in yeast to define the drivers of these stress/environment-responsive epigenetic states. We are very interested in taking what we learn in yeast and exploring its conservation in metazoan model systems, to understand how these traits affect human health or influence disease.