Jillian Langer Pattison
A born and bred Red Sox fan from just outside of Boston, I have always been fascinated by biology, in particular genetics and disease predispositions. My curiosity within the field led me to Trinity College in Hartford, CT where I double majored in Biology and Neuroscience. My undergraduate research experience in a fly genetics lab exposed me to the exciting scientific research world awaiting. I applied to Dartmouth to continue my studies (and to fulfill my wish of living in yet another New England state) and I joined the Cole lab in 2009. In my spare time, I enjoy dancing, playing soccer, and hiking in the White Mountains.
cancer genetics; gene regulation; epigenetics; cancer biology
Recent genome wide association studies have identified a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that correlate significantly with predispositions to various diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and more. Curiously, these SNPs tend to lie in untranslated regions of the genome, predominantly in distal intergenic and intronic sequences. It is believed that these SNPs are somehow modifying regulatory elements, which are in turn affecting gene expression within a cell, ultimately leading to oncogenesis. My thesis project focuses on understanding how SNPs associated with prostate and bladder cancer that are situated in distal intragenic regions are altering gene expression in these tissue types. By exploring the larger chromatin architecture around these oncogenes and characterizing nearby enhancer elements, we are gaining insight into the many regulatory networks controlling gene expression and understanding how these systems may be modified during oncogenic transformation.