B.S. – Salisbury University
Ph.D. – Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
E-mail – email@example.com
Phone – 540-568-5635
Fax – 540-568-3333
Office – Bioscience 3016G
Courses: Cell and Molecular Biology (214), Genomics (481)
Research Interests: Epigenetic regulation of transcription. Development and disease processes in the vertebrate retina.
My lab is interested in epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in the vertebrate retina. Beyond the As, Cs, Ts, and Gs that make up the genetic code within cells, eukaryotic genomes acquire heritable and reversible chemical modifications that play a large role in influencing gene expression. Genome-wide patterns of these epigenetic modifications do not change the actual DNA sequences, yet can be passed on to subsequent generations much like the genetic code. In contrast to genomic DNA, epigenetic patterns are fluid and often change allowing cells the flexibility to alter patterns of gene expression based on environmental cues. In my lab we use the vertebrate retina to study DNA methylation, an epigenetic modifier of genomic DNA. Using the developing chicken, the mouse, and the human eye, we are investigating the role of DNA methylation in transcriptional regulation of retina-specific genes. These studies will advance the understanding of gene regulation in the visual system, which will ultimately provide us with better tools for understanding and treating retinal diseases and disorders.
^Wahlin KJ, ^Enke RA, Fuller JA, Kalesnykas G, Zack DJ, Merbs SL. Epigenetics and cell death: DNA hpermethylation in programmed retinal cell death. PLoS One 2013 Nov 11;8(11):e79140
Nasonkin IO, Merbs SL, Lazo K, Oliver VF, Brooks M, Patel K, Enke RA, Nellissery J, Jamrich M, Le YZ, Bharti K, Fariss RN, Rachel RA, Zack DJ, Rodriguez-Boulan EJ, Swaroop A Conditional knockdown of DNA methyltransferase 1 reveals a key role of retinal pigment epithelium integrity in photoreceptor outer segment morphogenesis.. Development. 2013 Mar;140(6):1330-41. doi: 10.1242/dev.086603.
Enke RA, Dong Z, Bender J. PLoS Genet. 2011 Oct;7(10):e1002350. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002350.Small RNAs prevent transcription-coupled loss of histone H3 lysine 9 methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana.
^ contributed equally