Assistant Professor of Biology

B.S. – Salisbury University
Ph.D. – Johns Hopkins School of Public Health


Phone – 540-568-5635
Fax – 540-568-3333
Office – Bioscience 3016G
Link to the @Enke_Lab Twitter Feed

Office Hours

Courses: Foundations of Biology (140), Genetics (240), Advanced Molecular Biology (Bio 480/580), Genomics (481/581), Advanced Graduate Topics in Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology (630)

Research Interests: Development & diseases of retinal neurons, epigenetic regulation, genomics & bioinformatics, molecular biology, neuroscience

My lab is interested in the molecular processes that neuronal precursors undergo during development into mature retinal neurons such as rod and cone photoreceptors as well as blinding diseases that afflict the retina such as age-related macular degeneration. 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.

Selected Works: Lesson plans, publication, and other open access materials

* indicates JMU student coauthors

*Hossain RA, *Dunham NR, Enke RA, Berndsen CE. 2018. In silico modeling of epigenetic-induced changes in photoreceptor cis-regulatory elements. Molecular Vision. Mar 14;24:218-230


Lee I, *Rasoul BA, *Holub AS, Lejeune A, Enke RA, Timp W. Whole genome DNA methylation sequencing of the chicken retina, cornea, and brain. Sci Data, 2017 Oct 10;4:170148.10.1038/sdata.2017.148


*Langouet-Astrie CJ, *Meinsen AL, *Grunwald ER, Turner SD, Enke RA. RNA sequencing analysis of the developing chicken retina. Sci Data. 2016 Dec 20;3:160117


Singh RK, Mallela RK, Hayes A, *Dunham NR, *Hedden ME, Enke RA, Fariss RN, Sternberg H, West MD, Nasonkin IO. Dnmt1, Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b cooperate in photoreceptor and outer plexiform layer development in the mammalian retina. Exp Eye Res. 2016 Nov 16.


*Langouet-Astrie CJ, Yang Z, *Polisetti SM, Welsbie DS, Hauswirth WW, Zack DJ, Merbs SL, Enke RA. Characterization of intravitreally delivered capsid mutant AAV2-Cre vector to induce tissue-specific mutations in murine retinal ganglion cells. Exp Eye Res. 2016 Jul 30;151:61-67.


Berndsen CE, *Young BH, *McCormick QJ, Enke RA. Connecting common genetic polymorphisms to protein function: A modular project sequence for lecture or lab. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2016 Nov 12;44(6):526-536.

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