Invited Talk – UC Berkeley MCB Marian E. Koshland Seminar Series

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UCBerkeley_MCBDr. Haynes presented an invited virtual talk, “Chromatin Engineering for Epigenetic Therapy in Triple Negative Breast Cancer,” for the Marian E. Koshland Seminar Series at the UC Berkeley Department of Molecular and Cell Biology on Tuesday, April 16, 2021. Special thanks to Eliana Bondra (graduate student) for hosting the virtual seminar and student and faculty meetings.

Invited Talk – Emory Winship Elkin Lecture

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Dr. Haynes was invited to present her work, “Epigenetic activation of tumor suppressor gene groups in triple negative breast cancer cells” for for the Emory Winship Cancer Institute Elkin Lecture series on Friday, March 26, 2020. Special thanks to Dr. Adam Marcus for the invitation.

Paige Steppe receives 2021 NSF GRFP award

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Undergraduate researcher Paige Steppe has received a 2021 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows Program (NSF GRFP) award! This highly competitive award recognizes and supports outstanding students in STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees at US institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and $12,000 for tuition support. Paige is a college senior in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering program at Georgia Tech. She joined the Haynes lab in 2020 to investigate the evolutionary diversity of a chromatin-binding protein motif to inform rational design of synthetic epigenetic regulators in cancer. Congratulations, Paige!

Research – Molecular Oncology – Epigenetic regulator BMI1 promotes alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma proliferation and constitutes a novel therapeutic target

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Epigenetic regulator BMI1 promotes alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma proliferation and constitutes a novel therapeutic target
Shields CE, Potlapalli S, Cuya-Smith SM, Chappell SK, Chen D, Martinez D, Pogoriler J,  Rathi KS, Patel SA, Oristian KM, Linardic CM, Maris JM, Haynes KA, Schnepp RW. (2021) Molecular Oncology (in press)

Abnormal expression and behavior of chromatin proteins occurs in many types of cancer, so scientists have investigated these proteins as possible drug targets. Treatment of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) remains a major therapeutic challenge in pediatric oncology. In this collaboration of the Schnepp and Haynes labs, we demonstrate that genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of BMI1 reduces ARMS viability. We show that BMI1 inhibits the tumor suppressive Hippo pathway and, conversely, that BMI1 disruption upregulates Hippo signaling. Collectively, these findings provide an initial framework for targeting BMI1 in ARMS and additional sarcomas.

Invited Talk – Northwestern University Center for Synthetic Biology

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Dr. Haynes presented an invited virtual talk, “Chromatin Engineering for Epigenetic Therapy in Triple Negative Breast Cancer,” for the Northwestern University Center for Synthetic Biology seminar series on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Special thanks to Dr. Mike Jewett, Dr. Danielle Tullman-Ercek, Dr. Julius Lucks, and the graduate student organizers of the GeneMods podcast and blog.

Invited Talk – University of Louisville Department of Biochemistry

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UofLouisvilleDr. Haynes presented an invited virtual talk, “Synthetic Effectors: Thinking Beyond Chromatin Editors for Cancer Epigenetic Therapy,” for the University of Louisville Department of Biochemistry seminar series on Monday, March 1, 2021. This event was organized by Danielle Little (PhD student) and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Louisville.

Invited Talk – CSU East Bay Department of Biological Sciences

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CSUEastBayDr. Haynes presented an invited virtual talk, “Chromatin Engineering to Control Genes in Triple Negative Breast Cancer,” for the California State University East Bay Department of Biological Sciences seminar series on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. The seminar series is organized by Dr. Pascale Guiton and the CSUEB Department of Biological Sciences

Invited Talk – SWE Women in Academia Committee Seminar

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SWEDr. Haynes presented an invited virtual talk, “Service and Strategy: The Value of Conference Committees and Public Engagement for Early Tenure-Track Faculty,” for the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Academia committee’s seminar series on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Special thanks to seminar organizer and moderator Dr. Ritu Raman (MIT) for the invitation.

Commentary – Cell – Fund Black scientists

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Fund Black scientists
Stevens KR, Masters KS, Imoukhuede PI, Haynes KA, Setton LA, Cosgriff-Hernandez E, Bell MAL, Rangamani P, Sakiyama-Elbert SE, Finley SD, Willits RK, Koppes AN, Chesler NC, Christman KL, Allen JB, Wong JY, El-Samad H, Desai TA, Eniola-Adefeso O. (2021) Cell. 184: 561-565.
PMID: 33503447

Many excellent papers have reported quantitative disparities in NIH funding awarded to Black scientists. Disparities persist even after controlling for an applicant’s education and training, country of origin, award track record, publication record, and institutional environment. The NIH would need to appropriate only ∼0.07% of its annual budget to achieve racial R01-equivalent level funding equity. In this commentary we, a nationwide group of women faculty in biomedical engineering, share actionable recommendations to dismantle funding barriers.

Research – – Rapid Single-Pot Assembly of Modular Chromatin Proteins for Epigenetic Engineering

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Abstract_v1Rapid Single-Pot Assembly of Modular Chromatin Proteins for Epigenetic Engineering
Priode JH, Haynes KA. (2021)

Much of epigenetic engineering relies on the assembly of multifunctional fusion proteins. We developed a set of cloning vectors and a protocol for one-step “Golden Gate” construction of recombinant protein-encoding DNA.  Standard 2-amino acid linkers allow flexible assembly of any combination of up to four protein modules, eliminating the need to design different compatible Golden Gate overhangs to ligate different modules. The five cloning vectors described in this protocol are available at Addgene: Karmella Haynes Lab Plasmids.


Addgene. Hot Plasmids and Viral Preps – March 2021.