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Environmental Regulation of the Estrogen Response in Single Living Cells
Joseph Rodriguez, PhD
Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology Laboratory / Single Cell Dynamics Group
Gene regulation is complex, involving the coordination of hundreds of proteins, including chromatin remodelers, enhancer RNA and chromosome looping. The estrogen response has served as a model of gene regulation due in part to its rapid and extensive induction. Single molecule RNA imaging in living cells has shown that this process is dynamic and heterogenous in time leading to differences in cell responsiveness and expression in the breast cancer cell populations. This variability in expression at the tissue and single cell level increases with age, implicating environmental epigenetic regulation. Our group is interested in investigating the interplay between environmental stimuli, including endocrine disruptor chemicals, and the estrogen response. We are using single-molecule imaging of the estrogen receptor, enhancer RNA and transcription to define mechanisms of the heterogenous response in single living cells.
Joseph Rodriguez graduated from MIT in 2001 and worked for five years performing bioinformatics analysis of human genome assembly. In 2007, he began work under the direction of Michael Rosbash, Ph.D., at Brandeis University, studying RNA processing and circadian gene expression dynamics. In 2012, Dr. Rodriguez joined the laboratory of Dan Larson, Ph.D., at the National Cancer Institute and studied transcriptional regulation of estrogen-responsive genes in single human cells. Dr. Rodriguez joined National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 2018 as a Tenure-Track Investigator. He heads the Single Cell Dynamics group in the Epigenetics & Stem Cell Biology Laboratory. His lab is interested in how the environment modulates expression variability of the estrogen response in single cells and how this variability contributes to normal and disease tissue function.
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