Jinrong Min obtained his PhD degree in physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and carried out his post-doctoral training in chromatin structural biology at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Jinrong is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto, and leading the Chromatin Structural Biology and Epigenetics Group at the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), University of Toronto. Our overarching goal is to characterize chromatin proteins systematically by X-ray crystallography in combination with other biochemical and biophysical techniques.
Research in the chromatin structural biology group consists of: 1) Chromatin modifying enzymes: Chromatin structure is very dynamic, and is governed by different chromatin modifying activities such as: DNA methylation, histone modifications, and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling. My laboratory is trying to understand the mechanisms of catalysis and inhibition of these chromatin modifying enzymes. 2) Regulation and recruitment of chromatin modifying activities: Regulation and recruitment of chromatin-modifying activities is critical for establishing and maintaining normal gene expression patterns, and aberrant gene expression is linked to many human diseases, such as various genetic diseases and cancers. Chromatin-modifying activities have been relatively well characterized, but the mechanisms of regulation and recruitment of chromatin-modifying activities are poorly understood. One major focus of my laboratory is to identify and characterize the recruitment and regulation mechanisms of the chromatin modifying activities. 3) Structure-Based Drug Discovery: Epigenetic abnormalities play an important role in the pathogenesis of cancer and other genetic diseases. Therefore, proteins involved in chromatin modifications are attractive therapeutic targets for drug design. We are screening and designing small molecules that can inhibit chromatin-regulating proteins in collaboration with medicinal chemists.