Dr. Miranda Darby

miranda-darbyOrganization: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Personal Biography: After earning a B. A. in Biology from Carleton College in 2000, Dr. Darby spent a year in Paris before becoming a technician in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Feinberg at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. While working in the lab, she became fascinated by the mechanisms that regulate the expression of genes, and she has continued to study various facets of this topic ever since. Dr. Darby recently earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, performing her thesis work in the lab of Dr. Jeffry Corden. She examined the regulation and function of a non-canonical transcription termination pathway in yeast, identifying a new role for the pathway in the regulation of some genes. As a Stanley Fellow in the Division of Developmental Neurovirology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Darby plans to examine the effects of infectious disease on gene expression. Outside the lab, her favorite activity is teaching her two-year-old daughter about the world around her.

Lecture Topic: “Wearing” genes
Each cell in our bodies contains an identical set of blueprints, yet skin cells, muscle cells, and nerve cells do very different jobs and have different characteristics. The blueprints, encoded in the DNA of the cell, are subdivided into thousands of individual genes, each containing the instructions to make a single component of the cell. Cells with identical DNA can have different characteristics from each other because only some of the genes are used or “expressed” in each type of cell. The expression of genes must be carefully regulated. Cells that produce the wrong components or produce components in the wrong amounts will not function properly and can contribute to cancer and other diseases. This lecture will introduce some of the diverse and ingenious strategies that are used by the cell to regulate the expression of genes and will highlight the need for future work to expand our understanding of these mechanisms.