Dalia studied biology at the University of Vilnius, Lithuania and environmental sciences in Budapest, Hungary. She received her doctorate in molecular cell biology and toxicology from the University of Manchester, UK. In her postdoctoral training at the University of Manchester and Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, she investigated kinase-transcription factor signaling and oncogene driven programs associated with cellular stress, epigenetics and cancer. Dalia’s scientific interests are epigenetic regulation of cellular signaling, modulation of epigenetic states using chemical biology and mechanisms of epigenetic control of cellular adaptation and carcinogenesis.
We are interested in understanding the mechanism of epigenetic regulators that control cell growth, differentiation, carcinogenesis and adaptation. Through use of the chemical probes to target the epigenetic regulators we are investigating the cellular functions of these proteins and their potential to become therapeutic targets in such diseases as cancer. Our work focuses on protein lysine and arginine methyltransferases involved in transcription, genome stability, RNA metabolism and variety of cell processes determined by the substrates of these cellular enzymes. The PRMT, arginine methyltransferase, family has especially wide scope of substrates ranging from histones to signaling molecules, enzymes and structural proteins. Through multidisciplinary research that includes cell and chemical biology, protein structural biology and many collaborative studies with colleagues across industry and academia, the SGC chemical probes project has generated several probes for various PRMTs. We are currently using the chemical probes to explore the cellular pathways that are controlled by PRMT enzymes in especially poor prognosis acute myeloid leukemia patient cells. The long term patient leukemia cell cultures developed in our group enable us to investigate the cancer cell growth, drug resistance and self-renewal capacity.