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2015 Scientific Report

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Van Andel Research

Van Andel Research Institute | Scientific Report 2015 Piroska E. Szabó, Ph.D. Laboratory of Developmental Reprogramming Dr. Szabó earned an M.Sc. in biology and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from József Attila University, Szeged, Hungary. She joined Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope, Duarte, California, in 1992 as a postdoctoral fellow. She then was an assistant research scientist and associate research scientist before becoming an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Beckman Research Institute in 2006; she was promoted to associate professor in 2011. She joined VARI in 2014 as an Associate Professor in the Center for Epigenetics. Research Interests The laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms responsible for resetting the epigenome between generations in general and specifically in the context of genomic imprinting. Both the soma–germline and the germline–soma transitions involve global erasure and reestablishment of DNA methylation patterns. At the soma–germline transition, the paternally and maternally inherited sets of chromosomes are prepared separately in the male and female germlines. The chromosomes in the sperm and egg contribute to the next generation when they join at fertilization. Soon after fertilization, at the germline–soma transition, the two half genomes undergo another wave of global remodeling initiating somatic development. The chromosomes inherited from the sperm or the egg carry with them into the soma an epigenetic memory of the male or female germlines, which is detectable in the parental-allele-specific transcription of imprinted genes. We are interested in the mechanisms of how DNA methylation is erased in primordial germ cells and in the zygote. We also study the patterning of de novo DNA methylation in fetal male germ cells. We use the tools of molecular biology and mouse genetics to map the changes in the epigenome and to identify the specific molecules that take part in these global and imprinted locus-specific processes. In addition, we test whether the natural epigenetic reprogramming processes of the germline are sensitive to environmental insults, potentially leading to transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. 54

Steven J. Triezenberg, Ph.D. Laboratory of Transcriptional Regulation Dr. Triezenberg received his bachelor’s degree in biology and education at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His Ph.D. training in cell and molecular biology at the University of Michigan was followed by postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Steven L. McKnight at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Dr. Triezenberg was a faculty member of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University for more than 18 years, where he also served as associate director of the Graduate Program in Cell and Molecular Biology. In 2006, Dr. Triezenberg was recruited to VAI to serve as the founding President and Dean of the Van Andel Institute Graduate School. He succeeded Dr. Gordon Van Harn as the Director of the Van Andel Education Institute in January 2009. Dr. Triezenberg is also a VARI Professor. From left: Alberts, Sutherland, Thellman, Triezenberg, Botting, Vander Schaaf Staff Glen Alberts, B.S. Carolyn Botting, M.S. Kristie Kioshi, B.S. Nicole Vander Schaaf, B.S. Students Jamie Grit Mason Sutherland Nikki Thellman, D.V.M. Amber Young 55

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