Professor, Department of Biology Emory University
Our research centers on how the "mother of all stem cells", the germline, is established during embryogenesis and maintained during development. We have discovered chromatin-based repressive mechanisms operating in the germline that prevent differentiation of germ cells into somatic lineages during embryogenesis, and maintain the integrity of the genome in adult germ cells. In the embryonic germline we are studying transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes that guard the germ cells during early development and regulate genomic activation. In the adult germline, we are studying how chromatin-based silencing mechanisms are targeted to large genomic regions, particularly the X chromosome, and how such mechanisms contribute to genomic stability and reveal sex-specific regulation of meiotic progression.