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Genetic and Genomic Approaches to Understanding Macrophage Identity and Function


A major goal of our laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development and functions of diverse macrophage phenotypes in health and disease. Recent studies using genetic and genomic approaches suggest a relatively simple model of collaborative and hierarchical interactions between lineage-determining and signal-dependent transcription factors that enable selection and activation of transcriptional enhancers that specify macrophage identity and function. In addition, we have found that it is possible to use natural genetic variation as a powerful tool for advancing our understanding of how the macrophage deciphers the information encoded by the genome to attain specific phenotypes in a context-dependent manner. Here, I will describe our recent efforts to extend genetic and genomic approaches to investigate the roles of distinct tissue environments in determining the phenotypes of different resident populations of macrophages.

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