Christopher Vakoc, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA
Christopher Vakoc

After graduating with a degree in biochemistry from Penn State University, Chris earned Ph.D. (2005) and M.D. (2007) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation research was performed in the laboratory of Gerd Blobel, where he studied basic mechanisms of long-range enhancer function, hematopoietic transcription factors, and histone lysine methylation. In 2008, Chris accepted a position as a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Fellow, which is a program that allows young scientists to pursue independent research before taking a faculty position. During this time, Chris initiated research into how chromatin modifications support the pathogenesis of leukemia. A key focus of this work has been to leverage functional genomics approaches to reveal unique chromatin regulator dependencies in cancer cells. This has led to the identification of several chromatin regulator pathways that are essential to maintain the leukemia cell state, which includes the discovery of BRD4 as a drug target in acute myeloid leukemia. This work has also revealed novel mechanisms of transcriptional regulation, such as identifying a role for MLL as a mitotic bookmark and a role for TRIM33 in enhancer decommissioning. Chris is currently an associate professor at CSHL.

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