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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


 Megan Buckley,

 United Kingdom

 Biological Science, Pembroke

 PhD thesis: Chromatin-based regulation of bivalent gene activation during stem cell differentiation.

 Research interests:
 1. Gene expression.
 2. Epigenetics.
                                        3. Chromatin biology.
                                        4. Stem cells.

My PhD focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying gene regulation during development. Chemical modifications on histone proteins play a key role in these processes. Curiously, some developmentally regulated genes have both active and repressive histone modifications, and they are known as ‘bivalent domains’. These bivalent domains are thought to keep genes in a ‘poised’ state in embryonic stem cells, ready to either activate or silence the genes to determine their differentiation path.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?
My specific interests became more refined during my previous roles where I had exposure to a wide variety of biomedical research fields. I’ve been very fortunate to have had supportive mentors who have encouraged me to pursue these interests. There are many intriguing mysteries surrounding gene regulation due to it being a multi-layered process. I’m motivated to advance our knowledge of the phenomena of chromatin and gene regulation, and how they are altered in disease, in order to identify mechanisms that could be exploited for the development of targeted treatments.