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CRISPR-Based Interrogation of 4-Dimensional Genome Dynamics

Led by Dr. Hanhui Ma in our lab, this project applies his innovative CRISPR-based fluorescent labeling of discrete genomic loci in human cells, to investigate interphase chromosome dynamics with reference to progression through the cell cycle. Unanticipated modes of movements are being uncovered and we are currently relating them to overall changes in genome organization at discrete times in the G1 and S phases.

Novel Roles of the Nucleolus


Our laboratory was the first to discover a role for the nucleolus beyond the synthesis of ribosomes, viz. assembly of the signal recognition particle. More recently we discovered the presence of both specific microRNAs and messenger RNAs in the nucleoli of myogenic cells, with strong base-pairing potential between the two classes (as shown at the left). From these results we have erected the exciting (but daring) hypothesis that the nucleolus can serve as a staging center for the assembly of certain microRNA:messenger RNA complexes, which are then exported to the cytoplasm in either a pre-suppressed, or conceivably pre-activated, translational state. This hypothesis forms the basis of the second major focus of our lab.

Meet the Lab



The centriole mystique. 
Pederson, T. 2020.   
Trends in Cell Biology, in press. 

Meeting report - Nuclear and cytoplasmic molecular machines at work.
Bullock SL, Visa N, Pederson T.
J Cell Sci. 2020 Apr 6;133(7). pii: jcs245134. Review.

The double helix: photo 51 revisited. 
Pederson, T. 2020.   
FASEB J. 2020 Feb;34(2):1923-1927

CRISPR-based programmable conversion of euchromatin into heterochromatin- a tool for the modern era of genome control. 
Xing, Y. et al.
Nature Methods. Under review.

STRIDE - a fluorescence method for direct, specific in situ detection of individual single- or double-strand DNA breaks in fixed cells.
Kordon, M., Zarebski, M., Solarczyk, K. Ma, H., Pederson, T. and Dobrucki, J.W.
2019. Nucleic Acids Res., in press.

Jonathan R. Warner- Pioneer of Ribosome Synthesis.
Pederson T.
RNA. 2019 Sep 18. pii: rna.073346.119.

All Publications


Follow our research, stay in touch – join the lab! 

Contact Us

Lazare Research Building 821
Campus Map (pdf)

508-856-8667 (office)


Mailing Address:
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Attn: Dr. Thoru Pederson - BMP Department
364 Plantation St LRB-821
Worcester, MA 01605

Join Us

Undergraduates interested in pursuing a PhD at UMass Medical School should apply directly to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Program.