On 14 June 2019 at 2.15 p.m., in J.Liivi str. 2 room 405, Vijayachitra Modhukur will defend her thesis Profiling of DNA methylation patterns as biomarkers for human disease for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Computer Science).
Prof. Jaak Vilo (Institute of Computer Science UT);
Dr. Balaji Rajashekar (Institute of Computer Science UT).
Prof. Stephan Beck (University College London, United Kingdom),
Assoc. Prof. Anagha Joshi (University of Bergen, Norway).
DNA contains the genetic information required for the growth and development of living beings. The most studied DNA modification is the DNA methylation—the addition of a methyl group to the cytosine base of the DNA. DNA methylation occurs in regions; those regions are referred to as “methylation patterns” that control the expression of the genes and therefore the functioning of organs. Methylation patterns either characterize normal organism functioning or indicate aberrant regulation that leads to diseases. Therefore, methylation patterns can be used as a biomarker indicating the normal biological process, disease progress, and prognosis. The current thesis aims to explore the role of DNA methylation in various human biological conditions and to predict the potential biomarker candidates by employing various bioinformatics methods. In the first part of the thesis, three different biological studies were evaluated for exploring DNA-based methylation- biomarkers. The first study is based on profiling tissue-specific methylation patterns in healthy human tissues. The following study is focused on identifying endometriosis specific biomarkers. The final study is aimed at understanding the methylation changes during the transition from pre- receptive to the receptive state of the endometrium. The findings included the identification of several biomarker candidates. The second part of the thesis focused on developing a novel and user-friendly web-tool, MethSurv, which uses methylation and clinical data from “The Cancer Genome Atlas” (TCGA) repository. The MethSurv tool is aimed at assisting the scientific community in exploring methylation-based prognostic biomarkers.