Bing Ren, Ph.D.

Dr. Ren is currently Member of the Ludwig Cancer Research (LCR) and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. He is also a co-director of the UCSD Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Graduate Program. Dr. Ren obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1998, and subsequently conducted postdoc research at the Whitehead Institute. He joined the faculty at LCR and UCSD in 2001, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007 and to Full Professor in 2009.  Dr. Ren has made important contributions to the understanding of gene regulatory mechanisms and chromatin organization in mammalian cells.  As a postdoctoral fellow, he invented ChIP-chip, a transformative approach for genome-wide determination of transcription factor binding and covalent chromatin modifications. As an independent investigator, Dr. Ren exploited this approach for annotation of cis regulatory sequences in the human genome.  He discovered signature chromatin modification patterns at transcriptional enhancers, and proposed a chromatin-modification-signature based enhancer mapping strategy for annotation of these regulatory sequences in genomes. Dr. Ren and colleagues further demonstrated that cell type specific activities of enhancers correlate with their chromatin modification states, a finding that set the stage for global analysis of gene regulatory mechanisms during mammalian development. In recent years, Dr. Ren also investigated the molecular architecture of chromatin in mammalian cells and made several key discoveries: 1) He found that the genome is partitioned into thousands of megabase-sized “topological domains”, a structural feature that is highly conserved during development and through evolution; 2) He showed that topological domains are units of genome organization that physically constrain the long-range regulatory interactions between enhancers and their target genes; and, 3) he and colleagues demonstrated that the cis regulatory elements and transcription factors regulate the formation of topological domains. As a principal investigator, Dr. Ren has actively participated in the NIH ENCODE project, the Roadmap Epigenome project, and the Common Fund 4D Nucleome project over the years. He is a recipient of the Kimmel Scholar award, the Young Investigator Award of the Chinese Biological Investigator Society, the Chen Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in Human Genetic and Genomic Research, and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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