Project Title: Visualizing epigenetic modifications noninvasively

Faculty Sponsor: Justin Massing

Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry



Project Description: DNA methylation at cytosine is a key epigenetic modification involved in regulating gene expression. Removal of this substituent proceeds through a series of stepwise oxidations followed by base excision repair. Current methods to identify these modified nucleobases is limited to ex vivo sequencing techniques only. Student researchers will synthesize known cytosine analogues and demonstrate the ability to distinguish each using well-established molecular imaging techniques. The ability to do so will further our understanding regarding this fundamental process, provide useful prognostic information, and guide future therapeutic designs.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: Students will be trained to carry out synthetic procedures and expected to maintain a detailed laboratory notebook. Additional responsibilities include preliminary evaluation of proposed agents and subsequent collaboration. Furthermore, students will be encouraged to present their findings at relevant conferences and to assist with manuscript preparation.

Minimum Student Qualifications: