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Erica Larschan, Ph.D

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Erica Larschan

Title: Assistant Professor of Biology
Department: Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, & Biochemistry

Erica_Larschan@brown.edu
+1 401 863 1070

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Overview | Research | Grants/Awards | Teaching | Publications

Our long-term goal is to define how genes are identified for coordinate regulation, the key initial step in their regulation. We are using genomic, genetic and biochemical approaches to define how domains of active transcription are formed in real-time.

Biography

Coordinate gene regulation is a fundamental process essential to all cells from the germ line to the immune system. Our long-term goal is to define how genes are identified for coordinate regulation, the key initial step in their regulation. Dosage compensation is one of the best model systems for studying this process because all of the genes on a single chromosome are specifically identified and co-regulated. Drosophila, like mammals, increase the transcript levels of a large number of diversely-regulated genes along the length of the single male X-chromosome precisely two-fold relative to each female X-chromosome.

We are developing innovative approaches to understanding how dosage compensation in Drosophila is established, the critical first step in coordinate regulation. By combining genetic, biochemical, and genomic approaches, we will address the following key overall question: How are global and gene-specific transcriptional regulatory signals integrated to precisely regulate genes?

Research Description

Coordinate gene regulation is a fundamental process essential to all cells from the germ line to the immune system. Our long-term goal is to define how genes are identified for coordinate regulation, the key initial step in their regulation. Dosage compensation is one of the best model systems for studying this process because all of the genes on a single chromosome are specifically identified and co-regulated. Drosophila, like mammals, increase the transcript levels of a large number of diversely-regulated genes along the length of the single male X-chromosome precisely two-fold relative to each female X-chromosome.

We are developing innovative approaches to understanding how dosage compensation in Drosophila is established, the critical first step in coordinate regulation. In this way, we will address the following key overall question: How are global and gene-specific transcriptional regulatory signals integrated to precisely regulate genes? By combining genetic, biochemical, and genomic approaches, we are addressing the following fundamental questions: 1) How are the functions of non-coding RNAs and cis-acting sequences integrated?; 2) How do multiple chromatin marks act together during targeting of transcription complexes?; 3) How can local enrichment of a DNA sequence generate a sub-nuclear domain?

Awards

Faculty Awards

2011 Pew Biomedical Scholar

2011 Ellison Foundation New Scholar (Declined)

Academic

1994 Wellesley College: four-year full tuition scholarship

1995 NIH Research Experience for Undergraduates fellowship

1996 Staley Fellowship for cancer research

1997 American Cancer Society Undergraduate research fellowship

1998 National Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in Science

1998 Mary F.C. Gross Prize for Academic Achievement

1998 Horton-Hallowell Fellowship for graduate study

1998 Wellesley College Valedictorian (summa cum laude)

2002 Albert J. Ryan Scholar at Harvard Medical School

Fellowships

2004 NIH F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)

2004 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)

2004 Leukemia and Lymphoma Postdoctoral Fellow

2008 Medical Foundation Charles A. King Trust Postdoctoral Fellow


Honorary Societies

1997 Phi Beta Kappa, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

1998 Sigma Xi Science Honor Society, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Affiliations

Member, Genetics Society of America

Funded Research

1) Pew Biomedical Scholars program
7/1/2011-6/30/2015 $220,812 direct costs 7% effort
"Establishing domains of coordinate gene regulation"
Role: PI

Project Goals: The proposed research will examine how coordinate gene regulation is established in Drosophila. The Pew grant will provide funding for one graduate student and related supplies to work on high-risk aspects of understanding how dosage compensation is established in the early embryo.

2) NIH R01 GM098461-1
7/1/2011-6/30/2016 $1,250,000 33% effort
"Establishing coordinate gene regulation during Drosophila dosage compensation"
Role: PI

Project Goals: This project will reveal how the Drosophila male X chromosome is established as a domain of coordinate gene regulation. The experiments proposed in the NIH R01 proposal do not overlap with those proposed here.


3) Brown ADVANCE Grant from NSF HRD-0548311 Effort: 0 months/0%
"Using Next Generation sequencing to study dosage compensation in Drosophila"
4/01/2010-6/30/2011 $15,000
Role: PI

Project Goals: Use next-generation sequencing to understand Drosophila dosage compensation. This is a seed award that was used to generate some of the preliminary data for this proposal. It will be ending prior to the start date of the ACS award.

4) RI-INBRE NIH Seed Award P20RR016457-10 Effort: 0.15 months/3%
"Establishing sub-nuclear domains of coordinate gene regulation"
12/1/2010-4/30/2011 $30,000
Role: PI

Project Goals: Understand how coordinate gene regulation is established. This is a seed award that was used to generate some of the preliminary data shown in this proposal. It will be ending prior to the start of the ACS award.

5) Brown Salomon Award Effort: 0 months/0%
"Establishing sub-nuclear domains of coordinate gene regulation"
2/28/2011-2/27/2012 $15,000
Role: PI

Project Goals: This grant provides internal seed funding to examine how coordinate gene regulation is established in Drosophila using a novel induction system. These experiments provide preliminary data relevant to this project but do not overlap with the experiments proposed here.

6) Rhode Island Foundation Research Grant Effort: 0.3 Months/2.5%
"Establishing domains of coordinate gene regulation"
6/01/2011-5/31/2012 $15,000
Role: PI

Project Goals: This grant provides local seed funding to examine how coordinate gene regulation is established in Drosophila using a novel induction system. These experiments provide preliminary data relevant to this project but do not overlap with the experiments proposed here.


2) Pending:

American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant
1/1/2012-12/31/2016 $600,000 18% effort
Role: PI
"Targeting histone acetylation within complex genomes"
Project goals: Determine how histone acetylation is targeted within cancer genomes

Teaching Experience

Seminar on Transcription and Chromatin

Molecular and Cell Biology