Peter Lewis

Assistant Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry, Epigenetics

Picture of Peter LewisWisconsin Institute for Discovery
Room 2174
Epigenetics Theme
330 N. Orchard Street
Phone: (608) 316-4388
Overview · Publications · Lab Website


B.S., University of Virginia
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Rockefeller University

Areas of Study

Biomolecular Folding & Interactions
DNA Metabolism & Genome Maintenance
Gene Expression & RNA Biology
Quantitative Biology

Research Overview

Biochemistry of Chromatin-modifying Proteins
My research program is rooted in the idea that eukaryotic chromatin, the physiologically relevant form of genomes, contains an indexing system that represents a fundamental regulatory mechanism.  Covalent modifications to both DNA and histone proteins allow chromatin to act as a dynamic information hub that integrates diverse biochemical stimuli to regulate genomic DNA access and ultimately establish and maintain cellular identity. 
Aberrant chromatin regulation, as a consequence of mutation or abnormal signaling is associated with many diseases, especially cancer.  The identification of oncogenic mutations has led to the emerging view of “driver mutations” in chromatin regulators underlying many human cancers.  My research is aimed at defining how changes in chromatin structure aids in the establishment and maintenance of gene expression programs involved in normal development and tumorigenesis.
Ongoing research in the laboratory is directed at describing the molecular mechanisms by which histone H3 mutations drive tumorigenesis, and how the variant histone H3.3 functions in the maintenance of genome integrity in mammals.