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Lab Members

Principle Investigator

Richard Gregory, PhD

Richard established his laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital in 2006. Dr. Gregory received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, UK in 2001, studying genomic imprinting at the Babraham Institute. Dr. Gregory performed his postdoctoral work at the Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia. His postdoctoral research focused on mechanisms of miRNA biogenesis and function, and was supported by a Jane Coffin Childs Research Fellowship. In addition to his appointments at Boston Children's Hospital and the Harvard Medical School, he is a Principal Member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

His laboratory's research focus is on understanding the pathways of how small regulatory RNAs are generated, how they exert their gene regulatory function, their role in the self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem (ES) cells, and their relevance to human disease. RNA interference (RNAi) describes the recently identified phenomenon whereby small non-coding RNAs can silence gene expression. It is emerging that cells possess a wide repertoire of tiny regulatory RNAs that are critical for a variety of biological pathways and can repress genes via numerous mechanisms. For posttranscriptional gene silencing, microRNAs (miRNAs), and small inhibitory RNAs (siRNAs), function as guide molecules inducing mRNA degradation or translational repression. In mammals, hundreds of miRNAs have been identified, and have been implicated in controlling diverse developmental pathways. Indeed, recent predictions indicate that over one third of all human genes are targeted by miRNAs.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Hao-Ming Chang, PhD

Hao-Ming studied STAT2-dependent IFN-stimulated transcription during his PhD training under David Levy at NYU Medical Center. In July 2008 he joined the Gregory lab and is currently interested in the Trim71 function in stem cell biology. Trim71 is the mammalian homolog of the C. elegans heterochronic gene lin-41, whose activity has been demonstrated to be essential for worm development. In addition, Lin-41 was identified as a DCR-1-interacting protein in C. elegans. Hao-Ming Chang is trying to understand how the stem cell-specific microRNAs and their functions are regulated by Trim71. In his leisure time, Hao-Ming enjoys listening to classical music and playing the piano.

John Hagan, PhD

John received his PhD in 1998 under the mentorship of Paula Grabowski studying the molecular mechanisms that define exons during pre-mRNA splicing. He then joined the National Cancer Institute where he used genetically engineered mice and bioinformatic approaches to identify and characterize genes subject to genomic imprinting, an exception to Mendelian genetics where a given gene is expressed in a parent of origin fashion. Later, he studied microRNAs in greater detail with an emphasis on cancer studies in the laboratory of Dr. Carlo Croce at The Ohio State University Medical Center. Since joining the Gregory lab, John has expanded his microRNA research to include factors that regulate microRNA biogenesis, including recent work on the TUTase Zcchc11 that is recruited by Lin28 in embryonic stem cells to block the biogenesis of let-7 microRNAs. Outside of life in the lab, John is a huge Virginia Tech Hokies fan!

Natalia Martinez, PhD

Natalia is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received her BS from the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Buenos Aires. She received her PhD from the UMass Medical School where she focused on understanding the miRNA transcription regulatory network of the nematode C. elegans. Currently, she’s studying the mechanisms of miRNA-mediated silencing in stem cells. When not in lab, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, trying out new restaurants and watching TV series on Netflix. She can’t resist a beautiful day outdoors, especially a nice beach day.

Robinson Triboulet, PhD

Robinson earned his Bachelor's and Master's degree respectively in Biochemistry and in Biology and Health from University of Montpellier II, France. He then received his PhD from University of Montpellier I, France in 2007. At that time his primary research focused on the role of microRNA in HIV-1 infection in the Laboratory of Molecular Virology at the Institute of Human Genetics. Presently, he studies the mechanisms involved in the regulation of Microprocessor activity. Robinson enjoys relaxing at the pub after lab and listening to punk, pop/rock and blues music.

Graduate Students

Elena Piskounova

Elena is originally from snowy Moscow, Russia, however, she has spent significant parts of her life in Vienna, Austria and the UK. Elena received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from University of Oxford, Merton College, UK. As part of her degree, she attended Princeton University, studying the folding properties of amyloid peptides in the Laboratory of Dr. Michael Hecht. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard Medical School and joined the Gregory Lab in 2007. Her main research interests include the roles of mammalian Piwi proteins and piRNAs in embryonic stem cells. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the circus, snowboarding and sushi.

James Thornton

James is originally from Seattle, Washington and earned his Bachelor's degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Washington in Seattle. He is currently a graduate student in the Biological Sciences in Public Health program through the Harvard School of Public Health and joined the Gregory Lab in 2009. His interests are RNA, cancer biology and stem cells. When not doing science, James enjoys outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking.

Medical Student

Khang Nguyen

Khang hails from Dallas, Texas. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University. Currently, he is a second-year medical student at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include RNA biochemistry and biophysics. In his spare moments, he plays recreational sports, such as squash and softball, and enjoys playing and listening to the piano, and reading.

Research Assistant

Robert LaPierre

Born and raised in New Hampshire, Robert migrated to Boston where he earned his Bachelor's degree from Boston University in 2004. He then enrolled in Boston University School of Medicine where he earned a Master's degree in Medical Sciences. With his free time, Robert enjoys playing all types of competitive sports and relaxing at home.

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