Welcome Postdoctoral Researcher Audra Bryan

We are excited to share that Audra Bryan has joined the lab as a postdoctoral researcher. She recently earned her PhD from Vanderbilt University where she studied the role of transcription factors in gene regulation in normal cells and cancer cells. We are glad to have her join our team and apply her skills to the area of 3D genome organization and gene control.

First Ever Dowen/McKay Joint Lab Retreat on August 23, 2019!

We held the first ever joint lab retreat for the Dowen and McKay Labs on August 23, 2019. Our daytime activities included brainstorming sessions, plans for the coming year, and workshops focused on overcoming big data challenges and data presentation. We also had time for fun with ping pong, a board game, and a BBQ (with families) at Jill’s house. Thanks to everyone for making it a success and a special thanks to Chris Uyehara for the t-shirts that commemorate our first retreat!

Welcome Fall Rotation Students Matt Regner and Ana Berglind!

The Dowen Lab is excited to welcome TWO graduate students to rotate in the lab this fall. Matt Regner will be doing a computational project that investigates the binding of architectural proteins and the relationship to 3D genome folding. Ana Berglind will be doing a “wet lab” project focused on regulation of the Cohesin complex. Welcome to the Dowen Lab and UNC!

Megan Justice’s work published in Molecular Cell

Megan Justice contributed to a publication with the lab of Mauro Calabrese and others at UNC. This work investigated how long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) induce the spread of Polycomb Repressive Complexes (PRCs) across large (megabase sized) regions of the genome. The spread of PRCs is nucleated by CpG island sequences and is controlled by lncRNA abundance and genome architecture. This mechanisms is important for controlling expression of imprinted genes (where only the maternal or paternal is used, and not both).

Congratulations Megan on this cool story, which is featured in artwork on the cover of the issue!


Megan Justice selected for talk at GRC

Megan Justice gave a poster presentation and talk at the Gordon Research Seminar on Chromosome Dyanmics in Newry, Maine June 22-23, 2019. Megan’s terrific talk was selected for an oral presentation at the larger Gordon Research Conference on Chromosome Dynamics that commenced later that week. Congratulations to Megan on giving a great talk about your cool research on regulation of DNA looping!

Megan Justice receives Travel Award from UNC Graduate School

Megan Justice has received a Graduate Student Transportation Grant from the University of North Carolina Graduate School.  This will support her travel to the Gordon Conference on Chromosome Dynamics in Maine this June.  Megan plans to share her research in the form of a poster presentation or possibly short talk.  Congratulations Megan on getting this $400 award!

Zach Carico wins poster award at Genetics Department Retreat

Zach Carico won a poster award (with prize money!) at the joint retreat for the UNC Genetics Department, Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, and the Curriculum in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.  The retreat was held in Wilmington, NC and attended by ~200 people.  Also, Zach got to watch Duke win the ACC Championship title while at the retreat… still working on reprogramming him into a Tarheel.

His poster title was “A cancer mutation to Cohesin subunit SMC1A broadly dysregulates transcription and interferes with Cohesin association with chromatin”.


Megan Justice accepted into Yale Ciencia Initiative Program

Megan Justice, a Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology student in our lab, was accepted into the Yale University Ciencia Initiative program. Throughout 2019, Megan will participate in a program designed “to expand access to scientific knowledge, experiences, and careers among communities or populations traditionally underrepresented in, or underserved by, the scientific enterprise.”

Learn more here: