Issam Al Diri, PhD

Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology

Contact

BST-3, room 3015
412-648-4260
ALDIRII@pitt.edu
Website >

Focus

Chromatin structure and function during retinal development and disease.

Research Summary

The human retina is an intricate structure that is composed of seven major cell types organized in three layers. During embryonic development, retinal cells are formed as a result of an exquisite orchestration of developmental processes under the control of gene regulatory networks that function in precise temporal and spatial patterns. Our lab aims at understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying coordination of retinal development and how aberrations in the molecular machinery that governs gene expression can contribute to loss of specific retinal cell types in children and adults with visual impairments. We focus on analyzing dynamics of enhancer landscape and 3D genome organization during retinogenesis, and seek to dissect the function of key chromatin elements in the proper establishment of temporal and spatial retinal gene expression. We are also dissecting how chromatin factors associated with nuclear architecture can coordinate correct retinal cell fate determination. 

Publications

- Wang L, Hiler D*, Xu B, Aldiri I, Chen X, Zhou X, Griffiths L, Valentine M, Shirinifard A, Sablauer A, Thiagarajan S, Barabas M, Zhang J, Johnson D, Frase S, Dyer MA. 2018. Retina Cell Type DNA Methylation and Histone Modifications Predict Reprogramming Efficiency and Retinogenesis in 3D Organoid Cultures. Cell Reports 22: 2601–2614.

- Aldiri I, Xu B, Wang L, Chen X, Hiler D, Griffiths L, Valentine M, Shirinifard A, Thiagarajan S, Sablauer A, Barabas M, Zhang J, Johnson D, Frase S , Zhou X, Easton J, Zhang J, Mardis ER, Wilson RK, Downing JR, Dyer MA. 2017. The Dynamic Epigenetic Landscape of the Retina During Development, Reprogramming, and Tumorigenesis. Neuron 94: 550–568.

- Aldiri I, Ajioka I, Xu B, Zhang J, Chen X, Benavente C, Finkelstein D, Johnson D, Akiyama J, Pennacchio L, and Dyer MA. 2015. Brg1 Coordinates Multiple Processes During Retinogenesis and is a Tumor Suppressor in Retinoblastoma. Development 142: 4092-4106.