Dr. Marcelo Nobrega is a professor in the Department of Human Genetics and a member of the Institute of Genomics and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Nobrega works in understanding the mechanisms by which genetic mutations outside genes are linked to the increased risk to various diseases. These mutations, presumably affecting regulatory switches that control the function of genes, are similar to the ones we think may underlie preterm birth. Dr. Nobrega has participated in efforts to devise novel strategies and experimental assays to identify gene regulatory elements. He was a principal investigator of an ENCODE grant to devise strategies to map the binding of certain proteins to the human genome and to develop novel experimental approaches to examine specific classes of regulatory elements. Dr. Nobrega has modeled the impact of mutations implicated in various human diseases, such as congenital heart defects, heart failure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and asthma. Using genomics approaches, Dr. Nobrega has identified the gene IRX3 as the strongest association to polygenic obesity in humans, and characterized the mechanisms by which mutations altering the expression of a gene called TCF7L2 also represent the strongest genetic link to type 2 diabetes in humans. His goal is to use the same suite of tools and approaches developed over the past decade in his lab to tackle the challenges of understanding the basis of preterm birth.