Investigating the functional role of 3D chromatin features in T cells
Monday, March 14, 2022 - 4:15pm
Icahn 101
Quantitative & Computational Biology
LSI - Genomics

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Abstract: The goal of this seminar is to study how perturbation in three-dimensional (3D) genome folding alters CD4 T cell function, mediating allergic disorders. T cell identity depends on not only the linear genome sequence that embeds millions of regulatory elements, but also the 3D chromatin architecture that orchestrates the spatial localization of the regulatory elements with their target genes1. Recent advances indicate that single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with immune-mediated diseases may impact gene regulation by reorganizing 3D genome folding. However, the link between sequence variation, cellular context, 3D genome folding, and aberrant gene expression in majority of immune-mediated diseases remains largely unknown. Studying the cause-and-effect relationship between genome folding and immune responses is instrumental for understanding how noncoding nucleotide variation underlies chronic allergic diseases.

Golnaz Vahedi

Golnaz Vahedi, a native of Iran, is currently an Associate Professor of Genetics (with tenure) at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Golnaz, whose first name is pronounced as gol’naaz, studied Electrical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology in Iran. Sharif University is known for its large number of elite alumni who join the academic world, including the late Maryam Mirzakhani, the first female mathematician to be awarded a Fields Medal. Golnaz received her Ph.D. with Drs. Edward Dougherty and Jean-Francois Chamberland in Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. She then joined the laboratory of Dr. John O’Shea at the NIH as a postdoctoral fellow to study the epigenomic regulation of T cells. It was in the O’Shea lab that she found studying the epigenome is similar to dissecting electrical circuits. As an independent investigator, she uses systems-based approaches to understand molecular details of gene regulation in the immune system. She is the recipient of a number of awards including the NIH Director’s Award (twice), NIAID K22 Career Transition Award (perfect score), Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Award, W. W. Smith Charitable Trust, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and Michael S. Brown New Investigator Research Award. She serves on the advisory boards of Cell Press journal Immunity and Science Immunology.