Dr. Matthew Waterman, ENC professor of Biology and Chairman of the Division of Natural Sciences, returned this semester from a spring 2015 sabbatical. During that time, he worked in the Center for Human Genetics Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and took a graduate course in Data Analysis for Genomics through the Harvard School of Public Health.
Professor Waterman took the sabbatical in hopes of learning new experimental methods related to bioinformatics. With the new DNA sequencing technology developed in the past few years, an explosion of data regarding genomes has been revealed at an unprecedented rate. Waterman commented that, “[He] was excited to learn new tools and methods used to ask questions at the genomic scale.”
During his time at MGH, Dr. Waterman worked to establish methods called 4C-seq and Hi-C, that both can be used to investigate chromatin interactions. The focus of the lab group is neurological diseases, and Waterman investigated genomes from autistic children and their parents. The main focus of his research is to help determine if there are any changes in chromatin interactions that are directly correlated with autism.
Professor Waterman teaches multiple classes here at ENC including: Introduction to Cellular Biology and Genetics, Biochemistry I & II, Research in Biology, and Cancer Biology. He hopes to “Incorporate portions of [his] sabbatical research methods in the laboratory associated with Biochemistry II next year. [He] would also like to take a student with [him] to help with [his] research at MGH this upcoming summer.”
Upon arriving back at ENC, Waterman claims that he is most excited to see his students again. He is “Thankful that ENC supports faculty by providing time for sabbaticals. The sabbatical experience is essential for reinvigorating faculty and keeping ENC at the cutting edge of academic research.”