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Biology

Sharon Torigoe

Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Torigoe studies pluripotent stem cells (PSCs).  These cells hold important promise for regenerative medicine due to their capacity to differentiate into any functional cell type. The future success of generating and utilizing PSCs depends on gaining deeper understanding of the unique characteristics of PSCs. Dr. Torigoe’s lab investigates the mechanisms for transcriptional regulation that are necessary to maintain the functions of one type of PSC, the mouse embryonic stem cell. In particular, her research explores how these transcriptional programs are encoded into the genome and how that information is read and interpreted by proteins.

Teaching

Molecular Biology (Bio 311/312)

Investigations in Cell and Molecular Biology (Bio 200)

Chromatin Structure and Dynamics (Bio 490)

Research

In a single human individual, there are thousands, perhaps even millions, of different types of cells, which contribute to the vast variety of functions that must be performed in the body.  However, each of these cells is genetically identical, having arisen from one single cell.  As I once asked years ago, “If every cell in a person has the same genetic information, then how do we get all these different body parts?”

The simple answer is regulation of gene expression, but there are many ways to do so.  I am particularly interested in how gene regulation is encoded into the genome itself.  Specifically, what are the genomic sequences that contribute to cell-type specific transcription, and how are these sequences “read” by proteins?  I am currently focused on teasing apart the regulation of several key genes in mouse embryonic stem cells.

Academic Credentials

B.A. 2007 Scripps College - Honors in Biology & Chemistry

Ph.D. 2013 University of California at San Diego