Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2010
Home Department: Microbiology & Immunology
Faculty Advisors: Helen M. Blau (Microbiology & Immunology) and Marius Wernig (Pathology)

Research Title: Mechanisms that control the onset of nuclear reprogramming using heterokaryons and high-throughput sequencing

Research Description: Jennifer’s research focused on understanding how cells can change their fate. How does a cell change its identity, and what factors are important for making this decision? All the cells in our body have an identical genome; what makes cell types differ from one another is the combination of genes they express. This is controlled by transcription factors and epigenetic modifications, which determine whether a gene is on or off. Jennifer used a cell fusion based system to identify factors controlling specific gene expression. This enables us to change one cell type into another for the purpose of regenerative medicine.


Jennifer is a senior scientist at 23andMe, working as a project team lead for a therapeutic program and serving as principal investigator for genetics-driven recruitment studies.