For the first time in GPGG history, the Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics is now able to provide laptops for student use throughout the lifetime of earning their PhD! Through the co-sponsorship with the Genome Science Institute at Boston University School of Medicine, we are proud to be able to aid students in our program with the tools and resources that they need to best facilitate their research. Starting as of June 2019, each new student joining the Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics will be administered a brand-new, University-owned laptop for the duration of their Ph.D.!
The Graduate Program in Genetics and Genomics had a wonderful kickoff to summer with a group outing to Trapology in downtown Boston, which is a local Escape Room with various storylines. Utilizing real analytical thinking, the group was able to successfully escape the room with 7 minutes and 10 seconds to spare in a storyline that had only a 25% success rate! It was an extra special social activity due to the fact it was the first outing to include our newest GPGG students - Megan Snyder and Taylor Matte! A warm welcome to these new students and we are looking forward to more fun in the future at our next group activity.
Big congratulations are in order for the recent promotions of two GPGG faculty members - Dr. Hui Feng and Dr. Valentina Perissi! On May 15, 2019, it was announced that they each have been promoted to Associate Professor status.
The formal BUMC announcement notes each of their research focuses and accomplishments:
Hui Feng, MED, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine, established the Zebrafish Genetics and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory using zebrafish to genetically screen for potential therapeutic targets for human cancers, based on tumor suppressive phenotypes. Dr. Feng's research studies how cancer cells adapt to cellular and microenvironmental stress and evade immune surveillance in zebrafish. Dr. Feng also collaborates with chemists to develop small molecule compounds to inhibit MYC-driven cancer aggressiveness. Current extramural funding includes an existing R01 and foundation grants (including one from the American Cancer Society) and has published articles in high-impact journals such as Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Cancer Cell and Leukemia.
Valentina Perissi, MED, Biochemistry, is a molecular and cell biologist whose NIH- and DOD-supported work investigates the interplay between inflammation and metabolism in the context of breast cancer and obesity-induced insulin resistance and diabetes. Dr. Perissi’s research investigates the mechanism of its actions in adipogenesis and has uncovered a critical, non-transcriptional role for GPS2 in regulating the enzymatic activity of the TRAF2/CIAP1/Ubc13 ubiquitin conjugating complex. The Perissi lab uses tissue-specific mouse models to study how the different components of the NCoR complex contribute to broadly regulate the cellular responses to external stimulation by acting in different cellular compartments to modulate hormonal and inflammatory pathways. Dr. Perissi is also the Co-Director of the Adipose Tissue Biology and Nutrient Metabolism Core in the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center.
The Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics is very proud to have members that are dedicated to advancing genetics and genomics research while also recognizing them for their vast, overall accomplishments. We can't wait to see what your futures have in store and look forward to your future scientific accomplishments!
On April 26th, we celebrated Henry I. Russek Student Achievement Day 2019, and the Russek Award Nominating Committee and the Russek Executive Committee announced the winner of this year’s Graduate Program in Genetics and Genomics award! We want to start by thanking the nominating committee for their efforts, and we especially want to thank all of the applicants and presenters for their contributions.
Genetics and Genomics Program
1st Prize– Stefanie Chan; Dr. Perissi’s Lab
Stefanie Chan is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program for Genetics and Genomics and was selected for her 1st place prize at the Henry I. Russek Student Achievement Day 2019 with her research on “The Role of GPS2 in the PI3K/AKT Pathway in Breast Cancer.”
The Graduate Program in Genetics and Genomics is proud to recognize Stefanie for being a 2019 Henry I. Russek Student Achievement Day first prize award recipient.
Congratulations, Stefanie, and our additional students who presented posters, Gian (poster #62) and Jiayi (poster #15)!
On March 31, 2019, the Graduate Program in Genetics and Genomics took out the students for a genetics and genomics related social activity! They started out the day with lunch at a local Irish pub, The Asgard, and later made their way to a performance at Central Square Theater, called Photograph 51. This play illustrated the challenges that women in science have faced in the past and the present, and discusses the constant competitive race to publish. In the performance, Dr. Rosalind Franklin's "DNA discovery leads to the Nobel Prize – not for her, but for three men: Francis Crick, James Dewey Watson, and Maurice Wilkins" and highlights the chase to map the DNA molecule. This production tastefully promoted conversation on the challenges of gender bias in the scientific community and even delved deeper into the #MeToo movement. Overall, the outing was a success with good food and good company, topped off with stimulating conversation.
A current GPGG Student, Jiayi Wu Cox, has had the amazing opportunity of an industrial internship with Biogen Cambridge where she was able to apply her genetics and genomics education in a workplace setting. Her duties incorporated performing statistical tests on human DNA mutations to infer disease-causing variants, fine mapping the disease-causing loci, finding the impact of human mutations on gene expression level change, differential gene expression profiling, and network analysis. For more information on her experience, check out her blog post about it here!
Akshaya Ramesh (MED'16) talks about her work with the Hariri Institute, which involves mapping the genome of the rhesus macaque, a monkey which shares 93% of its DNA with humans.