Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Currently a postdoc with Stephen Tapscott and Galina Filippova at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, I have extensive experience in developmental biology, cell biology, and molecular Biology. For my doctoral research in the laboratory of Kristen Kroll (Washington University in St. Louis), I studied functions of a neurogenic bHLH transcription factor, Neurogenin and a small nuclear protein, geminin in cell fate determination and neural differentiation using both an animal model for in vivo functional studies in development and mammalian cell lines for in vitro mechanistic studies . From this experience, I learned how key factors regulate downstream genes at transcriptional level for early cell fate determination and differentiation. To further understand mechanisms of gene regulation during development and to apply my expertise to study human disease, I decided to study a role of the RNA-mediated epigenetic gene silencing in FSHD muscular dystrophy (FSHD), the third common human muscular dystrophy for which no cure is currently available. The goal of my research is to understand why DUX4, an FSHD causing gene, is de-repressed in pathogenic condition and to test efficient therapeutic targeting strategies for curing FSHD.