Laboratory of Chromatin Biology  @ UTSA NDRB

All* cells in human body carry the same "blueprint" of genomic DNA, yet their phenotypes and functions are remarkably different - suggesting that genes are differentially regulated. 

*exclusions apply, as always

Moreover, ~3.2 billion base pairs of DNA in every human cell* are folded into a nucleus - usually only a few microns in diameter - while preserving precise regulation of individual gene function. We aim to understand how this extraordinary level of compaction is achieved, and how, when misregulated, it drives human disease - from malignancy to developmental disorders.

We study gene regulation by H1 linker histones - small, dynamic proteins that contribute to both compaction of chromatin fiber (a complex of DNA and many nuclear proteins), and regulation of gene expression.

What's happening:

July 4 2024

Where to begin...

So much happened in the last month - it's getting hard to keep up with the news:

May 28 2024

With a bang

A week after graduation, Amina received an annual departmental award for her research. Also shown here is a cool beetle she elected to receive in liew of monetary prize  we found outside the lab. Congratulations!

May 17 2024

'Tis the season!

Amina graduated (with all sorts of honors) today, and we had a blast cheering for her. Alexey got to wear his Hogwarts garb, too. We are not saying good-byes though - she is staying around for some more science!

We are also excited to welcome the new generation - Natalie Redding and Ksenia Dydo are new undergraduate assistants, Gauri Raje is joining for the final year of her Masters project, and Tiffany Bastos is a new research assistant in the lab. Time for a new lab photo!

Mar 29 2024

ASBMB highlights:

This year's DiscoverBMB meeting was in San Antonio, so we all got to spend a few days learning about great science and making new friends (and talking about our own work!). Cherry on top, ASBMB noticed and wrote a neat highlight about our ongoing projects

Update: abstracts by Amina, Dustin, and Cameron are now published as a supplement to JBC!

Feb 21 2024

Good news from CPRIT!

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas just announced the 2024 Individual Investigator awards, and our application was selected for funding! (UPD: it was the top-scoring grant of all applications they received this cycle...). Over the next three years, we will decipher the genetic dependencies, consequences, and vulnerabilities of H1 loss in B-cell maligancy, and attempt to "rescue" the defect with orthogonal approaches - stay tuned for more. 

Update: we have made it to UTSA Today, Paisano (with funny typos), and even departmental insta! Smash that like button and subscribe!

Jan 16 2024

Talks galore!

We are running out of space on the "Good show" board - Amina will be giving a talk about her research at NCUR conference at Long Beach in April; and both Cameron and Amina are giving talks at ASBMB meeting in our own San Antonio in March! 

Aug 9 2023

Cam wins best poster award at PSU Summer Symposium!

Cameron presented a developing story on the role of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 in embryonic stem cells - a tour-de-force project encompassing gene editing, imaging, ChIP- and RNA-Seq, all together suggetsing that both loss and gain of PRC2-dependent histone H3 lysine 27 methylation drives functionally similar transcriptional and developmental outcomes. This is the first trainee award in our lab - congratulations!

June 1 2023

We got a grant:

Our pilot project to develop in vivo single-molecule imaging platform for wild type and mutant linker histones is now funded through American Cancer Society and Mays Cancer Center at UT Health! Stay tuned for more to come!

May 16 2023

We are growing!

Dustin Fetch and Amina Jumamyradova have joined the lab!

Mar 9 2023

New Paper:

"A de novo sequence variant in Barrier-to-Autointegration Factor Is associated with dominant motor neuronopathy" - Last month, we helped the Geyer and Zinn-Justin labs run a few Western blots to document histone modification changes associated with a unique point mutation in Barrier-to-Autoinregration Factor (BAF) protein. The story is now available online! Congratulations to all who contributed to this collaboration!

Feb 16 2023

New Paper:

"Dual role of lipids for genome stability and pluripotency facilitates full potency of mouse embryonic stem cells" - What started as a number of puzzling observations about how lipid supplements affect pluripotency circuit in culture, is now hot off the press at Protein & Cell - highlighting how deeply metabolic regulation is connected to genome integrity, epigenetic mechanisms, and whole organism development. Congratulations to all authors, and special kudos to Liangwen and Duancheng! 

Jan 9 2023

in memoriam

"Every amino acid matters, but people matter more" - the work of C. David Allis rewrote the textbook on how gene expression is regulated, but to everyone lucky to have known him personally, his impact extended far beyond fundamental discoveries. Dave's optimism and infectious excitement for science paired uniquely with a humble and gentle personality. Seemingly random souvenirs and photos of family and lab members past and present (the "lab family" term was used often) covered his office floor to ceiling, and brought more joy to him than his (well deserved) Nike of Samothrace.  Colors of chromatin shine less brightly today, but his legacy will live on. 

Feb 16 addendum - obituaries now published by Nature, Science and Cell offer a glimpse into how Dave's lab transformed the field.

Nov 1 2022

New Lab Member:

Cameron joins the lab! It takes special courage to be the first employee - when scientific challenges are overshadowed by organizational ones. Welcome!

Oct 24 2022

New Paper:

A fantastic story by Yadira Soto-Feliciano, Francisco Sanchez-Rivera, and many great collaborators in the Allis, Lowe and Armstrong labs is finally out in Cancer Discovery! One step closer to understanding the (non)redundancies of Mixed Lineage Leukemia methyltransferases, and how they can be leveraged in practical therapies for AML. Congratulations to Yadira and all!