at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Meet the Team

The Denu Lab @ Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

The "Histone Code"

The University of Wisconsin - Madison


The Denu Laboratory investigates the mechanism and biological function of reversible protein modifications involved in modulating signal transduction, chromatin dynamics and gene activation.

The Denu Lab investigates the intersections between metabolism and the epigenome, a complex series of modifications made on top of the genome that regulate gene expression. Cell metabolism includes the many biochemical reactions that create energy and build crucial molecules for the cell. Epigenetics is the study of modifications to the DNA and histone proteins, which wrap DNA in the cell’s nucleus. Together, we study how the daily workings of the cell can affect the folding and accessibility of its DNA, influencing how our cells and ultimately body responds to changes in diet or lifestyle. Our interdisciplinary approach spans basic biochemistry to big data, using methods ranging from in vitro enzyme assays to high-throughput mass spectrometry. The Denu lab is part of the Microbiome, Epigenetics, and Multi-omics hubs at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and is involved in many collaborations both on and off campus. Click here for more info on some of our ongoing projects!

Recent Lab News


  • October 2021 – The Epigenetics Hub hosts the 5th Annual Epigenetics Symposium at the WID. Special thanks the graduate students of the Organizing Committee for all their hard work, especially Alexis and Amy! Lily and Jessica presented posters at the symposium and Lily also gave a Lightning Talk (check out their photos!).
  • August 2021 – Wallace accepts a position as a Research Scientist at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Foster City, CA). Good luck Wallace, you will be missed!
  • August 2021 – Sydney defends her thesis with a “lovely” presentation on “You are what your bacteria eat”. Congrats Sydney and good luck in your next stage as a post-doc in Pieter Dorrestein’s lab (@UCSD)!!
  • August 2021 – Cassie, Jessica, and José pass their Preliminary Exams! Congrats guys!
  • July 2021 – José is accepted into the Metabolism and Nutritional Sciences Training Program (MANTP)
  • April 2021 – John is selected as an inaugural Fellow of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)! Congrats John!!
  • April 2021 – Spencer successfully defends his thesis work on the effects of methionine restriction on histone modifications! Great job Spencer!! Best of luck in your post-doctoral work in the Cremin Lab at the University of Pennsylvania!
  • March 2021 – Cassie is awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
  • February 2021 – Sara Slager joins the lab as an undergraduate research assistant! Welcome Sara!
  • January 2021 – Cassie is accepted into the Metabolism and Nutrition Training Grant (MANTP)
  • January 2021 – Julie Bolding joins the lab as a visiting PhD student from the University of Copenhagen for the next 6 months to expand her work on sirtuins. Welcome Julie!!