May 2021
Optimism returns, along with vaccines. Despite the challenges, lab members have made many new discoveries in the past 15 months.

Colette, Becky, and Ben submitted a manuscript describing their insights from single-nucleus RNA-seq on Arabidopsis endosperm and seed coat tissue. Lots of great data here! In addition to identifying cell/nuclear types with rich gene expression data, they made new discoveries about cell cycle and cell-type heterogeneity in imprinted gene expression. bioRxiv link here. Mary spoke about some aspects of this work for a Plant Cell Atlas single-cell sequencing workshop, which can be viewed here. Look for this in Nature Plants soon!

Ben, Lindsey, and Deborah posted a pre-print on the function of DNA demethylation in somatic tissues. Ben created a line (7 years ago! never too late to finish a project) where the lethal dme mutation was complemented in the central cell, allowing him to generate plants null for all four demethylases/5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylases. Methylation profiling in vegetative tissues suggest that DME acts redundantly with ROS1, DML2, and DML3 and that activity of the family is responsible for generating tissue-specific methylation patterns. bioRxiv link here.

Satyaki posted a pre-print in which he furthers explores the separate maternal and paternal function of RNA Pol IV. From these experiments, we think that Pol IV acts before fertilization (unknown whether in gametophyte or sporophyte) in a manner that sets-up gene expression programs in the endosperm several days after fertilization. The most exciting finding is that RNA Pol IV acts (genetically) antagonistically at some loci. A gene upregulated in endosperm due to loss of maternal Pol IV might be downregulated in endosperm when paternal Pol IV is absent. bioRxiv link here.

March 2020
Colette published a methods paper on comparing imprinting between plant species, complete with all required code. The Gehring Lab has also developed the searchable Plant Imprinted Gene Database to facilitate comparisons of published data. Check it out here.

January 2020
Mary is named a Bose Fellow by MIT. She plans to investigate seed biology and the promise of epigenetic engineering in orphan crops.

October 2019
Junski Choi joined the lab this month. Junsik completed his PhD in Eric Richard's lab at Cornell. We are excited to have him join us!

September 2019
Congratulations to Satyaki, who was awarded the Margaret and Herman Postdoctoral Award from Whitehead Institute. Very well-deserved!

July 2019
First-year biology student Alex Tang joins the lab for his PhD. Also a former Drosophilist. Welcome!

We are also happy to have high school teacher Lauren Resnick return to the lab for research this month.

June 2019
Two students join the lab for the summer: Pratheek H.P., a Khorana Scholar, and Drew Cohen, a rising senior at Williams College. Welcome to both!

May 2019

Mary was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure. See here for the MIT News article on the lab's research.

First-year biology PhD student Elizabeth Hemenway joins the lab. Her previous research centered on meiosis in Drosophila.

Satyaki's paper on RNA Pol IV and interploidy seed abortion was published in The Plant Cell. Congratulations! Satyaki's work offers new insight on models for why extra paternal genomes is deterimental to enodsperm development.

April 2019
Mary published a Tansley Insight in New Phytologist on whether there is reprogramming of epigenetic information during angiosperm reproduction and what the word "reprogramming" really means.

February 2019
Xiao-yu published a paper on applying the Henikoff Lab technique, CUT&RUN, to profile chromatin modifications in endosperm using only several thousand nuclei.

January 2019
Satyaki posted a paper on bioRxiv about his efforts to understand why mutations in RNA Pol IV suppress seed abortion caused by paternal genomic excess. Check it out here.

December 2018
Colette left the lab this month as she moves on to a postdoc at UCLA. We wish her well!

November 2018
Our paper on allele-specific imprinting of the paternally expressed imprinted gene HDG3 was published in PLOS Genetics . We showed that DNA methylation variation was sufficient to explain natural variation in HDG3 imprinting. Additionally gain and loss of HDG3 imprinting altered endosperm development, ulitimately affecting mature seed weight. Check out a piece by Whitehead Institute about the work here.

August 2018

Welcome to new lab technician Lindsey Bechen, who comes to us from the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Colette defended her thesis this month, in typical stellar fashion. Congrats!

July 2018

We bid farewell to our indomitable technician, Katherine. Thank you for all of your efforts and scientific contributions over the past two years!

Rebecca Povilus received an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology. She is the first NSF-funded postdoc in the history of Whitehead Insitute. Congratulations, Becky!

We welcome Lauren Resnick, a high school biology teacher from Revere, to the lab. Her research and teaching development efforts in the lab are supported by our NSF CAREER grant.

June 2018

Gabriella Lopez Perez has joined the lab as part of MIT's Summer Research Program. Gabriella is a rising junior at University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez

Latest work from the lab is on bioxriv and 1) examines whether methylation variation is sufficient to explain imprinting variation and 2) the contribution of an imprinted epiallele to seed development.

May 2018

Congratulations to undergraduate Josh Derrick, who was accepted to the summer internship program at Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell.

December 2017

A good month for the lab as Rob's final paper from his PhD is published in Cell Reports. Along with Satyaki and Maja, Rob showed that endosperm small RNAs globally regulate transcription from maternal and paternal genomes to maintain the 2-to-1 maternal:paternal transcript ratio. Many more interesting questions arising from this work!

Ben's paper on the functional significance of the ROS1 epigenetic rheostat has been published in Nature Communications. In a follow-up to his 2015 PLoS Genetics paper, Ben has found that methylation-sensitive expression of the 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylase ROS1 is required for stable inheritance of methylation patterns across generations, especially outside of heterochromatin.

October 2017
Congratulations to Colette, who received the Abraham J. Siegel Fellowship at this year's Whitehead Institute Retreat. The fellowship recognizes a graduate student with outstanding promise for a career in biological research. Very well deserved!

September 2017
A new postdoc, Becky Povilus, has joined the lab. Welcome!

August 2017
Maja Klosinska has left the lab to start as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. Congratulations! The lab has now had a full turn-over from its first year. Hard to believe.

July 2017
Rob has published another paper from his PhD, congrats! He collaborated with Rita Groß-Hardt's lab to determine the size limits on symplastic movement in the A. thaliana female gametophyte using their microinjection technique. He also showed that injected labled 24 nt small RNAs can (sometimes) move from the central cell to egg appartus.

May 2017
Eleanor was accepted to the Johnson & Jonhnson UROP Scholars Program to support her research in the lab over the summer. Way to go!

April 2017
Congratulations to Colette on her paper in Genome Biology! Colette investigated features associated with nonrandom changes in gene body methylation using recombinant inbred lines derived from two Arabidopsis strains with varying gene body methylation levels. Along with several other insights, she found that local CG methylation level is a good predictor of whether CG sites in gene bodies gain or lose methylation.

March 2017
Welcome to the newest postdoc in the lab, Xiao-yu Zheng. Xiao-yu completed her PhD in Biology at Duke in Xinnian Dong's lab and joined us after a ~2 year postdoc in Erin O'Shea's lab. We are excited to have her!

February 2017
Nice article in The Scientist on plant epigenetics. Mary is quoted.

January 2017
Another review by Satyaki and Mary, this time more specifically about DNA methylation and imprinting mechanisms, has been published in Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Our work on imprinting was highlighted in a recent article in The Scientist that focused on the techniques and challenges for identifying imprinted genes.

December 2016

Nice profile of the lab published in Scope, a publication of MIT's graduate program in science writing.

Satyaki and Mary wrote an Update on endosperm and imprinting for Plant Physiology's Focus Issue on Flowering and Reproduction.

September 2016
Our paper on imprinting in Arabidopsis lyrata has now been published in Nature Plants. In short, we found high conservation of imprinting between A. thaliana and A. lyrata, but some interesting differences in the DNA methylation profiles associated with genes imprinted in both species. The maternal alleles of A. lyrata paternally expressed imprinted genes gain CHG methylation, which we think is important for maintaining silencing. We also present evidence to support the parental conflict theory for the evolution of imprinting, such as higher expression of paternally expressed imprinted genes in out-crossing A. lyrata.

August 2016
Maja and Colette's paper on imprinting in Arabidopsis lyrata has been accepted for publication in Nature Plants. Look for it soon!

Our undergrads have returned to their home institutions. We wish them well as they complete their final year.

July 2016
Mary is promoted to Associate Professor without Tenure.

June 2016
Rob defended his thesis on June 21st. Congratulations! Very exciting to have the first PhD from the lab.

Like last year, we welcome two undergraduates for the summer. Tim Duerr is part of the MIT-Amgen Scholars Program. He is majoring in Biology at SUNY Cortland. Emmanuel Medrano is participating as part of the MIT Summer Research Program, and is majoring in Biology at Florida International University.

March 2016
Welcome this month to biology rotation student Elena Kingston and new technician Katherine Novitzky. Katherine recently completed a Masters degree at East Carolina University.

January 2016
Deborah passed her prelim this month. Congratulations!!

October 2015
Best wishes to Daniela, who started a Scientist position at Indigo this month. Daniela was the first postdoc to join the lab and made many important scientific contributions. We're very sorry to see her go, but congratulate her on starting the next phase of her career!

September 2015
Ben Williams recieved the Margaret and Herman Sokol Post-doctoral Award this month. Congratulations, Ben!

August 2015
The lab shrank this month as summer comes to a close. Undergraduates Soun Lee and Veronica Echevarria return to UMass Amherst for their senior year. Good luck! Brianna Valenti also returns to her high school biology classroom, where she plans to incorporate Arabidopsis into lab activities. Last but not least, Aurore Bochnakian, our visiting student extraordinaire, returns to France to complete her Master's program. We will miss you!

July 2015
Welcome to Brianna Valenti, a high school biology teacher who will be working in the lab this summer as part of the education component of our NSF CAREER award.

June 2015
Check out MIT's The Future Postponed Report, on why declining government funding of fundamental scientific research threatens future success and innovation in US science. Mary wrote a case study about Plant Sciences. You can also listen to a podcast that she recorded with The Science Coaltion.

Welcome to our summer students Soun Heang Lee, part of MIT's Summer Research Program, and Veronica Echevarria, a MIT-Amgen UROP scholar. Both are rising seniors at UMass Amherst.

April 2015
Thanks to Stewart Gillmor for identifying some errors in one of the supplemental tables from our eLife publication last year, caused by data transposition. You can find the corrected Figure 1-Source Data 5 on the Data page and in eLife. The corrections do not change any of our conclusions.

March 2015
Congratulations to Deborah, recipient of an NSF graduate research fellowship!

Ben's paper is now out in PLoS Genetics.

A warm welcome to Aurore, a visiting student from France, and Deborah, a PhD student, who both joined the lab this month!

Congratulations to Ben! His paper on the regulation of ROS1 expression by RdDM and ROS1 - and the epigenetic rheostat formed by that regulation - has been accepted for publication in PLOS Genetics. In the meantime, you can read the essentials on bioRxiv, here.

February 2015
Daniela's detailed protocol for bisuflite DNA sequencing methylation analysis, including all relevant scripts, has been published by bio-protocol. This is adapted from her eLife paper.

November 2014
Congratulations to Rob - his paper on lack of 5-hmC in Arabidopsis has just been published!

September 2014
Colette passes her prelim with flying colors. Congratulations!

July 2014
The last of our terrific trio of technicians departs. Good luck at Berkeley, Johan!

Morgan heads off for Brown's graduate program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. We'll miss you!

Daniela's paper on natural variation in gene imprinting is out in eLife!

We bid a fond farewell to Elias. Best of luck in graduate school!

May 2014
Mary is part of Cell's 40 under 40 feature.

Mary traveled to Washington to represent the GSA at a poster session for members of Congress.

March 2014
Welcome to new postdoc Satyaki Prasad! He joins us from Cornell.

November 2013
Mary's review is published in Annual Review of Genetics.

April 2013
Computational and Systems Biology graduate student Colette Picard joins the lab.

January 2013
New postdoc Ben Williams joins the lab from the other Cambridge.

November 2012
Mary receives the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award from The Gruber Foundation and the Genetics Society of America.

September 2012
Daniela's review on imprinting is published in Current Opinion in Plant Biology.

August 2012
Congratulations to Rob on passing his prelim!

April 2012
Rob is awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

July 2011
Maja Klosinska joins the lab.

Our genome-wide study of parent-of-origin allelic expression is published.

June 2011
Mary is named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

May 2011
Daniela Pignatta and Rob Erdmann join the lab.

November 2010
Mary's interview with Nature Careers is published.

October 2010
Morgan Moeglein joins the lab.

September 27, 2010
The Gehring Lab officially opens at Whitehead!