My research focuses on the genomic and epigenetic organization within human centromeres and repeat-rich regions of constitutive heterochromatin, with the goal of understanding the functional role of these sequences in cell biology and human health. To this end, I have combined experimental and computational approaches to establish sequence models for each centromere assigned gap in the human assembly, critical to advancing high-resolution sequence-based studies.  Ultimately, my research is motivated by the opportunity for important advancements in genome biology and direct applications in human biomedical research.


Telomere-to-telomere (T2T) assembly of the human genome.  

Advancing technology and computational tools to assess hard to measure variation in the human genome.  With a focus on human satellite DNA variants, the frequency in the population and association with cancer/disease.

Linear assembly of the RP11 Y centromere. (a) Ordering of nine DYZ3-containing BACs spanning from proximal p-arm to proximal q-arm. The majority of the centromeric locus is defined by the DYZ3 conical 5.8 kb higher-order repeat (HOR) (light blue). Highly divergent monomeric alpha satellite is indicated in dark blue. HOR variants (6.0 kb) indicated in purple. (b) The genomic location of the functional Y centromere is defined by the enrichment of centromere protein A (CENP-A), where enrichment (~5-6x) is attributed predominantly to the DYZ3 HOR array.


2007 - 2011

Ph.D. Duke University

University Program in Genetics and Genomics

2001 - 2004

M.S. Case Western Reserve University

Department of Genetics

Chromosome to function (C2F): taking a comprehensive study of chromosome structure and genome biology. With a focus on the epigenetic regulation and function of satellite DNAs.

1996 - 2000

B.S. University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Biological Sciences

Genomics Institute 

University of California, Santa Cruz

  • Facebook Clean Grey
  • Twitter Clean Grey
  • LinkedIn Clean Grey