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PEDRO P ROCHA – Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator

Picture of Pedro Rocha lab head at NIHMy graduate studies at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics focused on gene regulation and the role of transcriptional co-regulators during mouse development (Rocha et al. 2010). I devoted my postdoctoral training at NYU to explore the multiple ways in which nuclear organization and chromosomal interactions are important for regulation of cellular processes in development and disease.

At NYU I studied the process of Class Switch Recombination in B cells and showed that DNA interactions are important to orchestrate this recombinatorial event and avoid translocations that can lead to lymphomas (Rocha et al.  2012 and 2016). I also developed techniques that were lacking in the field such as a CRISPR/dCas9-based system for live visualization of multiple loci in different colors (Fu et al. 2016) and contributed to the development of a computational pipeline for analyses of DNA interactions (Raviram et al. 2016 and github)I recently became fascinated with the world of transposon biology and have also developed tools to understand better how these invading agents can help control expression of our own genes (Raviram et al. 2018). Find full CV here .

I am very grateful for my sources of funding so far:

  • K99/R00 from NIGMS
  • Scholar Award from ASH
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship from NCC
  • Marie Curie ESR


JOYCE J THOMPSON – Postdoctoral Fellow

Joyce Thompson

My long-term research interest lies in understanding how epigenetic mechanisms acting at different levels coordinate and regulate chromatin organization across development and differentiation, and their contribution to cell-fate decisions. During my graduate studies I focused on characterizing a zinc-finger protein and identified its role in modulating epigenetic mechanisms. As a postdoc in the Rocha lab, I will be studying how the chromatin is organized in the early embryo, and what factors are crucial in establishing sub-chromosomal domains and facilitating chromosomal interactions. Joyce started in October 2018.

Find Joyce’s publications here



SHREETA CHAKRABORTY – Postdoctoral Fellow

Chakraborty_Shreeta_PictureMy longterm research goal is to unriddle how gene regulation executes a diverse repertoire of high fidelity response during cell fate decisions at the critical stages of development and differentiation. During my graduate studies my research focus was to elucidate the function of a protein called Nostrin in the different aspects of utero-placental development including trophoblast stem cell differentiation and feto-maternal angiogenesis. In the Unit on Genome Structure and Regulation at NIH, I will be exploring and investigating how a milieu of transcription factors, enhancers and promoters coordinate cell fate based upon chromatin architecture during early mammalian development. Shreeta is with us since December 2018.

Check Shreeta’s publications


ZHENYU ZUO – Postdoctoral Fellow


My long-term research interest is to understand the regulatory mechanisms controlling cell fate transitions in embryonic stem cells and during early embryo development. My Ph. D project mainly focused on functions of protein arginine methyltransferase I (Prmt1) in ES cells and mouse early embryo development. In the Rocha lab, I will continue to explore regulation of gene expression during early cell fate decisions. Especially, I want to investigate the global changes of genome structure during cell fate decision processes and find out how these changes coordinate with lineage choices and what may be the key factors governing these systematic changes. Zhenyu starts November 2019




I graduated in May 2018 with a Biology Bachelor of Arts from Franklin & Marshall College. My previous work examined seasonal variation in Geukensia demissa protein expression. Working at NICHD in the Unit on Genome Structure and Regulation, I hope to gain a better understanding of the underlying epigenetic mechanisms that regulate protein expression and embryonic development. After my postbac experience, I hope to enroll in a Ph.D. program to study Biochemistry, or Molecular Biology. Ariel started in October 2018.





Daniel Lee – NIH Postbac IRTA


 I graduated in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. My undergraduate research focused on evaluating the role of the core-promoter transcription factor, Taf9b, in oligodendrogenesis. My research interests lie in unveiling and understanding the complex biochemical mechanisms and developmental pathways that lead to diseases like cancer. At the NICHD, I hope to study more of these pathways in detail while concurrently applying to medical school. Ultimately, my career goal is to be able to conduct translational research to bring my findings at the bench to my patients at the bedside. Daniel started in July 2019.



Samuel Hernandez – NIH Postbac IRTA


I graduated in June 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry from Knox College. My previous work involved developing a machine learning algorithm for age prediction based on DNA methylation patterns tailored for forensic and clinical testing. My current research interests lie in understanding how epigenetics is related to aging and how different living conditions, specifically space travel, contribute to epigenetic modifications that alter the development and health of the human body. At the NICHD, I hope to gain a better understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms that are involved in embryonic development. After my postbac experience, I hope to enroll in a MD-PhD program and one day make space travel sustainable and reliable through translational research. Sam is part of our lab since September July 2019.





Sarah Frail Postbac NIH NICHD

Sarah graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor in Cell Biology and Genetics from University of Maryland, College Park. Following her postbac experience she moved to California, to Stanford University for graduate school. Sarah was in our lab from  July 2018 to July 2019.

See Sarah’s publications





James Wang – NIH Summer Internship Program

james (1)

James is a Chemical Engineering student at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studies the biosynthesis of unusual natural products in fungal systems. After spending a very productive summer with us in 2019 James went back to UCLA to finish his bachelor degree.




Previous Mentees

Ramya Raviram, PhD

Role: PhD supervisor

Current: Postdoc at UCSD    Contact

Yi Fu, MSc

Role: Master’s Thesis Supervisor

Current: PhD student at NYU   Contact

Vincent Luo, MSc

Role: Master’s Thesis Supervisor

Current: PhD student at Mcgill University  Contact

JungHyun Kim, MSc

Role: Master’s Thesis Supervisor

Current: PhD student at University of Maryland and NIH Contact

Arafat Aljoufi, MD

Role: Master’s Thesis Supervisor

Current: PhD at Indiana University  Contact

Emily Swanzey, MSc

Role: PhD rotation Supervisor

Current: PhD at NYU  Contact