University of South Florida
College of Arts and Sciences
Contribute to our future
Email: cmharro (at) mail.usf.edu
Advisor : Alvaro Monteiro
Cancer development is influenced by gene expression patterns via epigenetic mechanism (DNA methylation, chromatin packaging, and histone modification). Epigenetic modifiers are essential for directing lineage-specific transcriptional programs in immune cells. Disruption of these cellular processes contributes to the progression of various hematological malignancies. Small-molecular inhibitors against chromatin and histone modifiers have proven to be effective in the clinic. My work focuses on understanding the epigenetic processes responsible for the progression of T-cell and B-cell leukemia, and identifying key targetable mechanisms in these diseases. Special AT-rich sequence binding protein 1 (SATB1) is an essential epigenetic modifier for T-cell development in the thymus. Interestingly, we have found that SATB1 is either transcriptionally repressed or overexpressed in many leukemia/lymphomas of various lineages compared to normal lymphocytes. As such my research aims to:
1.) Understand the role of SATB1 in 3D chromatin modification/looping structures in conjunction with other chromatin-associated factors.
2.) Understand how the epigenetic silencing/overexpression of SATB1 expression in leukemia/lymphomas trigger molecular reprogramming and pathology.
3.) Screening epigenetic inhibitors and their efficacy in targeting oncogenic or restoring tumor suppressive pathways.