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• Needhi Bhalla (MCD) Chromosome Structure and Function during Meiosis
• Hinrich Boeger (MCD) Promoter Chromatin Dynamics and Gene Expression
• Grant Hartzog (MCD) How Chromatin Influences Transcription
• Rohinton Kamakaka (MCD) Chromosome Structure and Gene Regulation
• Michael Stone (Chem) Structure, Function, and Assembly of the Telomerase Ribonucleoprotein
• Susan Strome (MCD) Regulation of Germ Cell Development in C. elegans
• Bill Sullivan (MCD) The Cell Cycle, Cytoskeleton and Pathogenesis
• John Tamkun (MCD) Regulation of Chromatin Structure and Gene Expression

Prof. Needhi Bhalla Chromosome Structure and Function during Meiosis

Needhi Bhalla, Dept. of MCD Biology

The Bhalla lab isinterested in the mechanisms that ensure that chromosomes segregate correctly during cell division, particularly in meiosis. During this specialized cell division, diploid cells give rise to haploid gametes, such as sperm and eggs, so that diploidy is restored by fertilization. Defects in meiosis can generate gametes, and therefore embryos, with the incorrect number of chromsomes. These aberrations in chromosome number, also referred to as aneuploidy, typically produce inviable embryos. It is estimated that 30% of human miscarriages are due to aneuploidy. In some cases, the presence of an extra copy of a chromosome can be tolerated by a human embryo but results in serious developmental disorders, such as Down and Klinefelters syndrome. [More]

Bhalla Publications
Needhi Bhalla's Email

Prof Hinrich BoegerPromoter Chromatin Dynamics and Gene Expression

Hinrich Boeger, MCD Biology

Research in Hinrich Boeger’s laboratory is concerned with the structure and dynamics of chromatin at gene regulatory elements. The eukaryotic cell packages its nuclear DNA by spooling the DNA in regular intervals about a core of specific proteins, forming a jointed chain of DNA spools (‘nucleosomes’). This chain, or ‘chromatin fiber’, folds up into unknown structures of higher order. How does DNA spooling affect both gene expression and regulation, which both require access to the DNA? This question is pursued by molecular biological and biophysical methods, including electron and fluorescence microscopy and yeast genetics. These experimental approaches are combined with mathematical modeling of promoter chromatin dynamics and function. The aim is the development of a formal framework that allows for a quantitative understanding of eukaryotic gene expression and regulation. [More]

Boeger Publications
Prof. Boeger's Email

Prof Grant HartzogHow Chromatin Influences Transcription

Grant Hartzog, Dept. of MCD Biology

Grant Hartzog's laboratory investigates the roles of proteins that regulate the rate of transcription elongation - i.e. how quickly RNA polymerases travel along and transcribe genes into RNA. Many normal cellular genes are known to be regulated at the level of elongation, and the HIV virus specifically co-opts normal transcription elongation factors to regulate its own replication. Thus, understanding how transcription elongation is controlled is important for an understanding of both normal and abnormal gene expression. [More]

Prof Roh KamakakaChromosome Structure and Gene Regulation

Rohinton Kamakaka, Dept. of MCD Biology

The primary DNA sequence of an organism determines their unique genetic makeup. DNA in the eukaryotic nucleus associates with several structural and enzymatic proteins to form chromatin. This packaging affects the ability of genes to be transcribed into RNA and only a subset of genes undergo active transcription in any given cell at any particular time. Specific gene transcription is achieved by enhancer bound transcription factors that recruit specific chromatin remodeling and modifying enzymes to form open euchromatin. Conversely, silencer bound factors recruit distinct enzyme machineries and repressor proteins to modify chromatin resulting in the formation of condensed heterochromatin that silences genes ... [More]

Kamakaka's Publications Roh Kamakaka's Email

Prof Michael StoneStructure, Function, and Assembly of the Telomerase Ribonucleoprotein

Michael Stone, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The Stone Research Group combines the use of biochemical and structural methods with newly emerging single-molecule techniques to probe the dynamics of protein-nucleic acid interactions and the molecular mechanisms of biological motors.  Our current area of focus is the structure and function of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein, an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase that maintains genomic stability by synthesizing repetitive DNA sequences at chromosome termini.  These short DNA repeats provide the foundation for specialized chromatin structures, called telomeres, which prevent deleterious chromosome fusion events by differentiating chromosome ends from sites of DNA damage.  It has been shown that telomere length typically decreases with every round of cell division, leading to the so-called ‘molecular clock’ hypothesis, wherein telomere length serves as a signal to control cellular lifespan. This notion is consistent with the finding that active telomere DNA synthesis is normally restricted to rapidly dividing cell types such as stem cells and the majority of human cancers. Our research seeks to elucidate physical mechanisms governing telomere length regulation, and in turn establish a conceptual framework within which to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for human disease. [More]

Stone Publications Michael Stone's Email

Prof Susan StromeRegulation of Germ Cell Development in C. elegans

Professor Susan Strome, MCD Biology

Germ cells (the cells that give rise to eggs and sperm) have special properties. Their immortality allows them to be perpetuated from generation to generation, and their totipotency allows them to generate all of the diverse cell types of the body in each generation. Our lab investigates the molecular mechanisms used by germ cells to establish and maintain their identity, immortality, and totipotency. We study germ cells in the model organism C. elegans using a wide variety of approaches, including genetics, imaging, molecular biology, biochemistry, and whole-genome microarray and sequencing technologies. Our current focus areas are transmission of chromatin states and control of gene expression in germ cells, and regulation of RNA metabolism by germline-specific cytoplasmic "P granules". [More]

Strome Publications Susan Strome's E-Mail

Prof Bill SullivanCell Cycle, Cytoskeleton and Pathogenesis

Bill Sullivan, Dept. of MCD Biology

The Sullivan lab uses the Drosophila embryo as a model system to investigate the mechanisms that drive furrow invagination during cytokinesis. Through a combination of cellular and molecular genetic approaches, the Sullivan group has showed that furrow formation requires coordinated cell cycle regulated and endocytic-based vesicle recruitment. These studies have also identified a new role for cell cycle checkpoints in coordinating the nuclear cycle with cytokinesis. More recently, the lab has applied these approaches toward understanding the mechanisms by which the widespread intracellular insect pathogen, Wolbachia, influences host nuclear and cytoplasmic cell cycles. [More]

Sullivan's Publications Bill Sullivan's E-Mail

Prof John TamkunRegulation of Chromatin Structure and Gene Expression

John Tamkun, Dept. of MCD Biology

The Tamkun lab investigates regulation of chromatin's high order structure and its role in gene expression. Composed of DNA and proteins, chromatin's ability to fold enables the eukaryotic genome to be packaged into an extremely small space inside the nucleus of the cell. Proper transcription and replication of the genome also depend upon precise regulation of these dynamic structures, with defects in these processes believed to underly many human diseases. [More]

Tamkun Publications John Tamkun's E-Mail

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