Penn State Hershey College of Medicine
My name is Dr. Jenna Buckwalter, Ph.D. and I'm a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine. I have been a member of Dr. David DeGraff's lab for almost two years. My thesis work focused primarily on chromatin structure and epigenetic networks that influence chromatin structure and folding. My work is focused on epigenetic regulatory mechanisms of urothelial transcription factors in bladder cancer. Specifically, I have been investigating DNA methylation regulation of Fork head box A1 (FOXA1). I have found specific DNA methylation patterns in the FOXA1 promoter correlates with decreased FOXA1 expression and basal-squamous molecular subtype in bladder cancer. More recently, my efforts have been focused on the genetic alterations and/or changes in gene expression that may drive site specific DNA hypermethylation at the FOXA1 promoter. One candidate of interest that may drive changes in DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) expression and activity is the well-known tumor suppressor retinoblastoma (RB1) protein. In other cancers, such as lung, loss of RB1 results in increased DNMT gene expression. Our preliminary data suggests alterations in RB1 status in bladder cancer may contribute to increased DNMT expression and activity. This exciting work is an excellent start to my postdoctoral career and I'm very eager to continue to explore and define the role of epigenetics in this common urological malignancy.
Sunday, May 5
7:00 AM – 9:00 AM