Dan Gatti (PhD, Rusyn Advisor) was awarded an EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship for his proposal entitled “Genome-wide in-silico modeling of liver gene regulatory networks.” The EPA STAR Fellowships are highly competitive awards made once every two years to a select group of students nationwide. The purpose of the fellowship program is to encourage promising students to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in an environmental field. The Fellowship includes funding for tuition, fees, stipend and supplies for up to three years. He joins 2007 STAR Fellows in ESE: Shannon Starck (MS, Weinberg Advisor), Alison Hege (PhD, Curriculum in Toxicology, and Lanakila McMahan (PhD, Sobsey Advisor).
Gatti is a second year Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. Ivan Rusyn. He is also a student in the Bioinformatics and Computation Biology (BCB) Training Program. His research involves the use of sophisticated statistical and computational approaches to analyze data on toxicity measurements, including gene expression and other -omics endpoints, and genetic polymorphisms with a goal of constructing gene regulatory networks which will aid in understanding and predicting toxicity. This type of research is fundamental for improving the linkages in the source-to-outcome continuum because a firm understanding of the molecular events in normal cells and how they are perturbed by environmental agents is the foundation for understanding how toxicants lead to disease. In addition, this work will help to identify sensitive sub-populations – people whose genes harbor polymorphisms that may be associated with adverse responses to otherwise tolerable exposure levels.
Prior to enrolling in the Ph.D. program, Gatti received his Masters degree in this Department in 2007, served as the department’s computing consultant from 2004 to 2005 and was the lab manager for both Professors Singer and Weinberg performing drinking water analysis from 2002 to 2004. Gatti received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1992 and his Programming Certificate from NC State in 1999. He worked at the NC Supercomputing Center doing environmental modeling and software development from 1997 to 2002 before coming to UNC. Daniel has been a recipient of a number of awards from the Department and several research societies.