Mazhar Adli

Adli, Mazhar

Primary Appointment

Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetic, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics


  • MSc, The Biological Sciences and Bioengineering Program, Sabanci University
  • PhD, Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Postdoc, Epogenomcis, Harvard Medical School, Mass general Hosptal, Broad Institute of Harvad and MIT

Contact Information

PO Box 800733
1340 JPA Pinn Hall Room 6240
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 4342438567
Fax: 4349245069

Research Disciplines

Biochemistry, Bioinformatics and Genomics, Biotechnology, Cancer Biology, Computational Biology, Epigenetics, Molecular Biology, Translational Science

Research Interests

Identify and target key genomic and epigenomic drivers in cancer

Research Description

Main Goal: Identify and target key genomic and epigenomic drivers in cancer

Main Tools: CRISPR-based Genome & Epigenome editing, Genome scale CRISPR-screening, Live cell chromatin imaging, ChIP-Seq, ATAC-Seq, RNA-Seq, single cell RNA-Seq

Our ultimate research goal to understand key drivers of cancerous cellular state and identify therapeutic vulnerabilities for novel drug combinations to prevent cancer development and chemotherapy resistance. To achieve this goal, our lab is using genomic and epigenomic mapping, editing and imaging approaches to understand genome regulation in normal and malignant settings. We also use computation approaches to integrate large scale-genomic data and utilize experimental tools and technologies to understand and prevent aberrant genome regulation in disease, specifically cancer.

Our laboratory is utilizing and also developing cutting-edge functional genomics strategies and developing novel CRISPR based manipulation tools to understand dynamic gene regulation and 3D genome organization in normal and malignant settings. These efforts are based on our previous expertise in cancer research, genome-wide approaches, and development of novel technologies. During his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute, Dr. Adli established unique technical and analytical expertise in genomics and epigenomic profiling and computational data analysis. During this process, he developed the Nano-ChIP-Seq technology that overcomes the cell number limitation of conventional ChIP-Seq technology (Nature Methods, 2010; Nature Protocols, 2011) and played critical roles in multiple large-scale projects including Roadmap Epigenome Mapping Consortium (Cell, 2013) and cancer genome projects (Nature 2012, Cancer Cell 2012, NEJM 2013).
Currently, the Adli lab is combining genome and epigenome mapping expertise with novel CRISPR-based manipulation tools to achieve our ultimate research goals. To this end, we have developed a strong expertise in CRISPR technologies (Nature Communications 2018; Nature Methods 2016; Nature Biotechnology 2014; NAR, 2015). We are actively developing and utilizing novel CRISPR tools to edit genome, manipulate epigenome and image live cells chromatin dynamics in living cells (Nature Methods, 2017, Nature Communications, 2017). These functional genomic tools combined with our capacity to analyze and integrate large-scale data analysis enables us to set rigorous and ambitious research goals and achieve them faster.

Main Research Projects in the Adli Lab:

Project #1: Characterizing therapy induced epigenetic alterations that drive chemoresistance in High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer

Project #2: Genome-scale CRISPR KO screening in pancreatic cancer to identify novel tumor suppressors and combinatorial synthetic lethal drug targets

Project #3: Develop novel CRISPR-based tools for epigenome editing and chromatin engineering in living cells

Project 4: Identify functional roles and target recurrent non-coding mutations in cancer

Selected Publications