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Yamini Dalal, Ph.D.

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Rajbir K. Gill, Ph.D., Biologist, Alumni
Rajbir K. Gill, Ph.D., Biologist, Alumni
Dr. Rajbir Gill served as a biologist in Dr. Dalal's laboratory. Dr. Gill was born and raised in India. She received her undergraduate and master degree in biology and moved to the United States for her postgraduate work in Sylvia Christakos laboratory at New Jersey Medical School, where she focused on the development of mouse and Chinese hamster cell lines carrying a single human chromosome (monochromosomal hybrid) to map human genes. Using these methods, she studied regulation of calbindin D28K gene expression by steroid hormones. During her graduate work, she also identified cis-acting elements involved in steroid receptor (VDR and ER)-mediated gene regulation, and discovered that other coactivators and repressors are involved in gene regulation, in addition to these steroid receptors.

In 2003 Rajbir moved to Dr. Jin Jen's laboratory at NCI where she became interested in biomarkers for early detection. She started developing markers for early lung cancer detection and studying the genetic changes induced by smoking in small airways epithelial cells (SAEC). Both chromosomal loss and chromosomal gain markers were amplified in SAEC, suggesting mitotic arrest as a potential mechanism followed by further changes. To further her interest in understanding epigenetic changes in cancer cells, she moved into the field of chromatin structure and epigenetic mechanisms, under the direction of Dr. Yamini Dalal.

Seleted Publications:

1) Varghese S, Deaven L, Huang YC, Gill RK, Iacopino AM, Christakos S. (1989) Transcriptional regulation and chromosomal assignment of the mammalian calbindin-D28K gene. Mol Endocrinol. 3: 495-502.

2) Christakos S, Gill RK, Lee S, Li H. (1992) Molecular aspects of the calbindins. J Nutr. 22: 678-82.

3) Gill RK, Christakos S. (1993) Identification of sequence elements in the mouse calbindin -D28K gene which confer 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3- and butyrate-inducible responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 90: 2984-8.

4) Lee S, Clark SA, Gill RK, Christakos S. (1994) 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 and pancreatic beta-cell function: Vitamin D receptors, gene expression and insulin secretion. Endocrinol. 134: 1602-1610.

5) Gill RK, Christakos S.(1995) Regulation by estrogen through the 5'-flanking region of the mouse calbindin-D28K gene. Mol Endocrinol. 9: 319-26.

6) Gill RK, Atkins LM, Hollis BW, Bell NH. (1998) Mapping the domains of the interaction of the vitamin D receptor and steroid coactivator-1 Mol Endocrinol. 12: 57-65.

7) Gill RK, Turner RT, Wronski TJ, Bell NH. (1998) Orchiectomy markedly reduces the concentration of the three isoforms of transforming growth factor beta in rat bone and reduction is prevented by testosterone. Endocrinol. 139: 546-50.

8) Gill RK, Bell, NH. (2000) Steroid receptor co-activator-1 mediates 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-stimulated alkaline phosphatase in human osteosarcoma cells. Calcif Tissue Intl. 66: 370-4.

9) Ciobanu DC, Gill RK, Rothschild MF, Bell NH. (2000) Pocine vitamin D-25-hydroxylase maps to chromosome 5 J Anim Sci. 78: 3193-4.

10) Gupta RP, Gill RK, Hollis BW, Patel SB, Patrick KS, Bell NH. (2004) CPY3A4 is human microsomal vitamin D-25-hydroxylase. J Bone Miner Res. 19: 680-8.

11) Gill RK, Kramer A, Vazquez MF, Heselmeyer-Haddad K, Ried T, Henschke C, Yankelevitz D, Jen J. (2005) Chromosomal amplification detected by FISH markers to predict the neoplastic potential of cells in fine needle biopsies of abnormal nodules identified by spiral CT. AACR. 140: 854.

12) Gill RK, Hames M, Vazquez MF, Kramer A, Heselmeyer-Haddad K, Ried T, Henschke C, Yankelevitz D, Jen J. (2008) The use of genetic markers to identify lung cancer in fine needle aspiration. Clin Cancer Res. 14: 4781-7.

13) Gill RK, Yang SH, Meerzaman D, Mechanic LE, Bowman ED, Jeon HS, Roy Chowdhuri S, Shakoori A, Dracheva T, Hong KM, Fukuoka J, Zhang JH, Harris CC, Jen J. (2011) Frequent homozygous deletion of the LKB1/STK11 gene in non-small cell lung cancer. Oncogene. 2011 May 2.
Minh Bui, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Minh Bui, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Minh is a native Marylander who received his Associate degree in 2001 from the Montgomery Scholars Program at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland. The Scholars Program provided him a full-time academic study abroad scholarship at Cambridge University, United Kingdom. After Montgomery College, Minh went on to receive his Baccalaureate in biological sciences from University of Maryland, College Park in 2003, and stayed at the University to receive his Ph.D. in biology in the summer of 2009.

His post-graduate work began in Dr. Marco Colombini's laboratory where he collaborated with postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Leah Siskind, to characterize sphingosine channels using biophysical methods. He then joined Dr. Zhongchi Liu's laboratory in 2005 to study transcriptional co-regulation in Arabidopsis. His thesis focused on the transcriptional co-repressors, LEUNIG (LUG) and LEUNIG_HOMOLOG (LUH), homologs of the Drosophila Groucho protein. His work has uncovered that these proteins have redundant and unique roles in flower development. He also recently uncovered a novel role for these proteins in pathogen response. Given his background in using genetic approaches to study transcriptional regulation, it was a natural transition for him to move into the field of chromatin structure and epigenetic regulation for his post-doctoral work, under the direction of Dr. Yamini Dalal at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

His other interests include collecting orchids (to which he has acquired approximately 60 of), other plants, and he has several pets (2 cats and an African grey parrot).

Selected Publications

1) Bui M, Liu Z. (2009) Simple allele-discriminating PCR for cost-effective and rapid genotyping and mapping. Plant Methods 5: 1-8.

2) Sitaraman J, Bui M, Liu Z. (2008) LEUNIG_HOMOLOG and LEUNIG Perform Partially Reduntant Functions during Arabidopsis Embryo and Floral Development. Plant Phys. 147: 672-81 (Co-first author, equal contribution).

3) Siskind LJ, Fluss S, Bui M, Colombini M. (2005) Sphingosine forms channels in membranes that differ greatly from those formed by ceramide. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 37: 227-36.

4) Bui M, Lim N, Sijacic P, Liu Z. (2011) LEUNIG_HOMOLOG and LEUNIG Regulate Seed Mucilage Extrusion in Arabidopsis. J Integr Plant Biol. 2011 Mar 1. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01036.x. [Epub ahead of print]
Paul Donlin-Asp, B.S., Predoctoral Fellow, Alumni
Paul Donlin-Asp, B.S., Predoctoral Fellow, Alumni
Paul grew up in the very flat and corn-filled state of Illinois for the vast majority of his life. He received a B.S. degree in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May of 2009.

During his final 2 years of undergraduate studies, he worked in the lab of Dr. Andrew S Belmont. His first year was spent working alongside a graduate student assisting with his project, an RNAi-based screen in a Drosophila S2 cell line looking for any knockdowns that had an seeming effect on the structure of chromatin. After making sufficient progress with advancing his laboratory skills, he was awarded his own project aimed at understanding the nuclear phenotype resulting from the RNAi knockdown of the protein Supernumerary limbs (Slimb). As a postdoctoral fellow in the Dalal lab Dr. Donlin-Asp worked to further his background in cytology, using AFM while gaining experience in both a biochemical approach and in working with colorectal cancer cell lines.

Outside of lab, his interests are widespread and varied. One of which is an almost pathological love of all things associated with winter, which also includes explaining to people that Minnesota is not a frozen barren wasteland. Other interests include reading up on any of a variety of subjects (things from deep sea life, to historical events, to how a LCD TV works), hiking and camping, and religiously sleeping in on Sundays.

Delphine Quenet, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Delphine Quenet, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Delphine comes from Brittany, France. She received her Bachelor's degree in biotechnology at the University of Orsay (Paris 11), France. She completed her Masters (in molecular and cellular biology) and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Strasbourg. During her thesis at Dr. Francoise Dantzer's laboratory, she studied the functional roles of Parp1 and Parp2 in the control of chromatin structure. Her project focused on biological pathways like spermatogenesis and cell differentiation involving HP1alpha-TIF1beta complex in response to retinoic acid and replication of pericentric heterochromatin. She joined CSEM/LRBGE in early 2010 under the guidance of Dr. Yamini Dalal to expand her knowledge of chromatin structure, specifically in centromere structure.

Her interests include reading, hiking, participating in sports and exploring different cultures.

Selected Publications

1) Quenet D, Mark M, Govin J, Van Dorsselear A, Schreiber V, Kochbin S, Dantzer F. (2010) Parp-2 is required for the differentiation of post-meiotic germ cells: Identification of an interaction with Parp-1, TP2 and Hsp70.2. Exper Cell Res. 315: 2824-34.

2) Quenet D, El Ramy R, Schreiber V, Dantzer F. (2009) The role of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in epigenetic events. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 41: 60-5.

3) Quenet DV, Fouillen L, Sanglier-Cianferani S, Losson R, Dantzer F. (2008) The histone subcode: Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (Parp-1) and Parp-2 control cell differentiation by regulating the transcriptional intermediary factor TIF1 and the heterochromatin protein HP1. FASEB J. 22: 3853-65.

4) Dantzer F, Mark M, Quenet D, Scherthan H, Huber A, Liebe B, Monaco L, Chicheportiche A, Sassone-Corsi P, de Murcia G, Menissier de Murcia J. (2008) Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-2 contributes to the fidelity of male meiosis I and spermiogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA. 103: 14854-9.
Song Fu, B.S., Predoctoral Fellow, Alumni
Song Fu, B.S., Predoctoral Fellow, Alumni
Song Fu served as a Special Volunteer in Dr. Dalal's laboratory. He is currently attending medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University. Song graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he double majored in cell physiology and genetics and business. He is interested in studying cellular metabolism and the mechanisms behind abnormal activities of cancer cells.
Marcin Walkiewicz, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Marcin Walkiewicz,  Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Marcin comes from an old part of Krakow, a former capital city located in the south of Poland. He studied biology at the Jagiellonian University in his home town before transferring to George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, where he received his bachelor's degree in 2005. Following his graduation, Marcin enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville where he earned his Ph.D in the field of microbiology.

During his graduate work with Dr. Daniel A. Engel he immersed himself in the vast field of virology. Marcin started by studying the mechanisms behind regulation of transcription from adenovirus chromatin, which is composed of viral genome associated with multiple copies of highly basic protein VII. He also studied the inhibition of influenza virus replication by novel small molecule compounds targeting viral multifunctional protein NS1. Using several generations of anti-NS1 compound derivatives he described the basis for their molecular mechanism of influenza inhibition and identified which of the NS1 functions are affected by the drug treatment.
Longing to get back to the field of chromatin research, Marcin joined the laboratory of Dr. Yamini Dalal at NCI, where he will pursue his interest in the intricacies of centromeric chromatin structure and the mechanisms of its epigenetic regulation.

His outside interests are mostly focused on all things which are technologically advanced. In his spare time Marcin loves fixing cars, watches, old electronics, or anything that isn't working the way it should. He also enjoys the great outdoors, which pair well with his recently developed interest in photography.

Selected Publications

1) Walkiewicz MP, Basu D, Jablonski JJ, Geysen HM, Engel DA. (2011) Novel inhibitor of influenza non-structural protein 1 blocks multi-cycle replication in an RNase L-dependent manner. J Gen Virol. 92(Pt. 1): 60-70.

2) Basu D, Walkiewicz MP, Frieman M, Baric RS, Auble DT, Engel DA. (2009) Novel influenza virus NS1 antagonists block replication and restore innate immune function. J Virol. 83: 1881-91.

3) Walkiewicz MP, Morral N,Engel DA. (2009) Accurate single-day titration of adenovirus vectors based on equivalence of protein VII nuclear dots and infectious particles. J Virol. Methods 159: 251-8.

4) Schaack J, Qiao L, Walkiewicz MP, Stonehouse M, Engel DA, Vazquez-Torres A, Nordeen SK, Shao J, Moorhead JW.: Insertion of CTCF-binding sites into a first-generation adenovirus vector reduces the innate inflammatory response and prolongs transgene expression. Virology. 2011 Jan 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Trenton Bowen, Summer Student, Alumni
Trenton Bowen, Summer Student, Alumni
A physics student from Arizona State University (ASU), Trent worked in Dr. Dalal's laboratory as a summer intern. At ASU, he works in a biophysics lab in the Biodesign Institute studying how epigenetic modifications to chromatin affect its structure and gene expression with atomic force microscopy. He has an interest in attending medical school and pursuing research in chromatin structure after graduating from ASU. Outside of science, Trent enjoys photography, running, and playing basketball.
Lab Picnic
Lab Picnic
Harpers Ferry - 2011
Lab Hike 2013
Lab Hike 2013
Catherine Volle, Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Catherine Volle, Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Catherine started her interest in science at age 10, when she decided to become a veterinarian. She remained on that career path until the beginning of her second year as a research associate for Dr. Megan Nunez, investigating the biophysics underlying predation by the bacteria Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, when she applied to graduate programs intending to study marine microbiology. Somehow she found herself in the DNA biochemistry laboratory of Dr. Sarah Delaney at Brown University, where she studied the effect of oxidative damage on hairpin DNA and the behavior of trinucleotide repeats in the nucleosome. After completing her degree at Brown, she moved to the NIH to continue studying chromatin under the direction of Dr. Yamini Dalal.

Catherine enjoys scuba diving, knitting, and walking with her dog Fisher.

Selected Publications:

Catherine B. Volle, Megan A. Ferguson, Katherine E. Aidala, Eileen M. Spain, and Megan E. Núñez. (2008) "Quantitative Changes in the Elasticity and Adhesive Properties of Prey Cells During Predation by Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J" Langmuir 24 8102-8110.

Catherine B. Volle, Megan A. Ferguson, Katherine E. Aidala, Eileen M. Spain, and Megan E. Núñez. (2008) "Spring Constants and Adhesive Properties of Native Bacterial Biofilm Cells Measured by Atomic Force Microscopy" Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 67 32-40.

Catherine B. Volle, Daniel A. Jarem, and Sarah Delaney. (2012) "Trinucleotide Repeat DNA Alters Structure to Minimize the Thermodynamic Impact of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine" Biochemistry 51 52-62.

Catherine B. Volle and Sarah Delaney. (2012) "CAG/CTG Repeats Alter Affinity for the Histone Core and Positioning of DNA in the Nucleosome" Biochemistry 51 9814-9825.
Haiqing Zhao, B.S., Predoctoral Fellow
Haiqing Zhao, B.S., Predoctoral Fellow
Haiqing is a biophysics student from University of Maryland at College Park. He works in NIH as a co-advised graduate trainee, under co-supervising of Dr. Garegin Papoian at UMD and Dr. Yamini Dalal at NIH. The collaborating topic is Computational Modeling and Experimental Perturbations of the Centromeric Chromatin Fiber.

With deep interest in life phenomena but solid training in physics and computer science, Haiqing managed to study non-equilibrium behavior of ionic liquid using molecular dynamics simulation as an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Yanting Wang in Chinese Academy of Science. Two years later, he got Master degree with Dr. Ulrich Hansmann, focusing on the self-assembly of di-peptide nanotube. After transferring to UMD, he has applied a new coarse-grained model (AWSEM) to study ubiquitin-ubiquitin association through clustering analysis and free energy calculation. His work showed, for L48 linked ubiquitin dimer, the native state can be the deepest minimal in free energy landscape, even without a linkage.

In his spare time, Haiqing plays soccer, guitar and loves photography as well.

Selected Publications:

Haiqing Zhao, Rui Shi, Yanting Wang, Nanoscale Tail Aggregation in Ionic Liquids: Roles of Electrostatic and van der Waals Interactions Commun. Theor. Phys. 56, 499-503 (2011).

This page was last updated on 5/16/2014.