Edwards, Miguel

Miguel is a third year trainee and is in the Molecular Biology IDP.  His research mentor is Dr. Stephen Smale.  He received a B.A. degree in 2007 from SUNY, Hunter College.

Mentor: Dr. Stephen Smale

Research project:

In recently published and unpublished work from the Smale lab, strong evidence has been put forth that pioneer factor interactions in ES cells permit the correct assembly of chromatin at non-regulatory tissue-specific genes in order to allow activation upon differentiation (Xu et. al. 2007). The observation that a small window of unmethylated CpG's was consistently observed within the binding site of FoxA1 at the Albumin enhancer lead to the hypothesis that this window of unmethylation indicates the association of DNA binding proteins with this tissue specific enhancer in ES cells. FoxD3 a related family member of FoxA1 was shown to bind at this site in ES cells. However the mechanism for the aforementioned and how this allows for the correct assembly of chromatin in order to allow activation upon differentiation has yet to be elucidated. This general observation of unmethylated CpG's at the enhancers of tissue specific genes in ES cells has been seen at other genes such as pTCR alpha. I intend to begin to elucidate the mechanism for the establishment of the unmethylated window and its functional relevance for activation upon differentiation.