Abigail Strong

Year: Senior

Major(s): Biology

Mentor: Doering, Jeffrey

Department: Biology

Project Title: Epigenetic Analysis of HC21p B7 and Satellite I DNAs

Project Abstract: The Human Genome Project did not sequence heterochromatic sequences in the genome. Recent work has shown a correlation between altered heterochromatic sequence expression in cancer cells. My research includes the characterization of two heterochromatic satellite DNA subfamilies (distal B7 and distal satellite I) on the p arm of acrocentric chromosome 21. Ultimately, I intend to study the DNA methylation patterns and histone modifications of these regions in both cancerous cells and normal cells. To do this, I must first design a specific HC21p distal satellite I PCR primer. Simultaneously, I will convert the specific distal HC21p B7 primer set I already have to methylation primers to determine the DNA methylation patterns of this region in normal and cancer cells. These specific primers will be used in ChIP and qPCR to determine if histone modifications in normal and cancerous cells change. This information is important to understanding genetic vulnerabilities and biomarkers of cancer.