Author: Jessica Williamson

Systems Genomics: Clinical Communication and Counseling Online Graduate Certificate

The ISG’s newest certificate program is now accepting applications for Spring 2022 enrollment!

Systems Genomics: Clinical Communication and Counseling Online Graduate Certificate is a 12-credit asynchronous online program consisting of four courses designed to provide foundational concepts of counseling and health communication theories. Concepts of counseling are applied in varied formats toward creating effective provider-patient or advocate-consumer communication. 

Skill development will focus on supporting health care discussions and conversations requiring the tactful and effective explanation of genetic and genomic information to patients, their families, and consumers. This certificate program is designed for anyone practicing or working towards practicing in a healthcare field, who wants to improve work performance and/or for professional advancement.

Click here to visit the program’s website.

Inclusive STEM Teaching Project

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has shared an exciting FREE professional development program available to all interested UConn employees. The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project, supported by NSF, is hosting a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from October 13th – November 24th. The six-week MOOC is designed to advance the awareness, self-efficacy, and ability of STEM faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and staff to cultivate inclusive learning environments for students.

Registration for the course opens Sept 6, 2021 through this link.

What’s in it for you?

Participants engage in deep reflection and discussion around topics of equity and inclusion across a variety of institutional contexts and strengthen capacity to contribute and improve the UConn landscape.

Benefits to your participation in the MOOC  

  • Access to teaching resources at a time where teaching inclusively in multiple modalities (in-person, online, hybrid/hi-flex) is essential
  • Flexible learning – edX materials and activities are self-paced
  • Opportunities to learn and refine skills in inclusive STEM instruction
  • Documentation of participation in professional development (fee for optional  MOOC certificate)

We estimate you will spend 2-3 hours per week engaging in the course which includes review/completion of MOOC course materials.

Can’t attend right now?

Please share with your networks and encourage colleagues to take part in this exciting initiative!

ISG Cores Update for Fall 2021

The Cores within the ISG continue to ensure staff follow local, federal, University and CDC guidelines for physical distancing while efficiently meet the needs of those who require our genomics services.

CGI: The CGI has spent the last several months tackling our queue for services. We continue to accept new projects; note that disruptions to supply chains from various vendors impact our workflows. We will make every effort to let PIs know the most accurate timeline for sample processing and when interruptions to service occur. We appreciate your patience as we navigate the supply issues faced by facilities nation-wide.

What does this mean for CGI users who have been approved to return to campus for work in the laboratory?

  • Eurofins Sanger submission daily pick up will no longer be available from ESB. You can request shipping labels and/or envelopes directly from Eurofins by emailing:  shipping@eurofins.com
  • Protocols for sample pick up from UConn Health will continue under modified conditions. Please contact Bo Reese for more information on delivery options.
  • In-person training for all CGI equipment is suspended until we are afforded increased personnel capacity in the facility, as per university and state guidelines. This suspension includes sequencers located in the Engineering and Science building at Storrs and the Cell and Genome Sciences building at 400 Farmington Avenue.
  • Self-service access to CGI equipment (Storrs lab) is suspended until we are afforded increased personnel capacity in the facility, as per university and state guidelines. If you require the use of one of our pieces of equipment, please contact us to arrange for processing.

As regulations may change quickly, please contact us about in person training and self-service activities if you have questions.

In addition to following physical distancing guidelines, CGI staff will only be working in the lab to process samples and maintain critical equipment. Sample drop off for approved research must be coordinated ahead of time to ensure someone is on site and available to receive samples. As a result of these new safety measures and staffing protocols, turnaround time for data delivery of newly submitted samples will be communicated on a user-by-user basis.

Computational Biology Core:  To support the dramatic increase in computational needs among our users, the CBC continues to hold consultations/appointments via Webex or Zoom. In person meetings are available upon request. Please contact cbcsupport@uconn.edu to continue to request software installs, server accounts, consultations, or new projects.

We continue to support your computational needs and provide community support through our Slack channel, which is monitored daily: uconn-cbc.slack.com

The CBC continues to hold data therapy sessions and workshops in a virtual format. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions about future experiments and how best to plan for sample submission and project completion. We would also like to thank you for your support and understanding while we navigate through this unprecedented time.

Warm Regards,
Bo, Rachel and Jill

Congratulations to the Poster Winners of the ISG Virtual Networking Event!

Best Lightening Talk: Emma Wentworth Winchester
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Cotney, Genetics and Genome Sciences, UConn Health
Poster Title: Unraveling the role of cell type specific noncoding variation in craniofacial disease

Best Poster: Savannah Hoyt
Affiliated Lab: Dr. R. O’Neill, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, UConn
Poster title: From Telomere to Telomere: characterizing the transcriptional and epigenetic state of repeat elements

Most Creative Poster: Irene Cobo-Simon
Affiliated Lab: Dr. Wegrzyn, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UConn
Poster title: CartograTree: Cyberinfrastructure to improve forest health and productivity in the context of a changing climate

Graduate Student Fellowship Opportunities

The Kenneth and Paula Munson Family Fund for Student Support in Health Sciences Fellowships

Through the UConn Foundation and the Institute for Systems Genomics, four fellowships will be granted to support graduate students in the amount of $3,500.

To be eligible for the fellowship(s), candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a graduate student enrolled full-time in the University who has not received a doctoral degree from any university
  • Demonstrate academic achievement
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Be a participant in a University approved research project under the advisement of a faculty member who is affiliated with the Institute.

From those candidates that meet the criteria above, priority consideration will be given to students who demonstrate a commitment to conducting research related to new treatments and cures for human diseases including, without limitation, degenerative diseases, neurodevelopmental disorders and neurocognitive disorders, cancer, diabetes, autism, dementia and heart disease.

Nominations should include a one-page letter of recommendation addressing selection criteria, graduate transcript and a short CV, submitted electronically as a single pdf file to Jessica Williamson at Jessica.Williamson@uconn.edu by May 14, 2021.*

 

The Linda D. Strausbaugh Fellowship in Genetics and Genomics

Through the UConn Foundation and the Institute for Systems Genomics, two fellowships will be granted to support graduate students in the amount of $500.

To be eligible for the fellowship(s), candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a M.S. or Ph.D. student in their second year of study or beyond
  • Demonstrate academic achievement
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Is conducting research in the field of genetics and/or genomics of eukaryotes in the lab of a PI formally affiliated with the Institute for Systems Genomics.

From those candidates that meet the criteria above, priority consideration will be given to first generation college or graduate students, and while each candidate will receive individual consideration, to students who: (1) have overcome obstacles such as socioeconomic or educational disadvantage; or (2) are members of groups that are underrepresented at the University of Connecticut; or (3) have experience living or working in diverse environments.

Nominations should include a one-page letter of recommendation addressing selection criteria, graduate transcript and a short CV, submitted electronically as a single pdf file to Jessica Williamson at Jessica.Williamson@uconn.edu by May 14, 2021.

 

****Selected candidates for these Fellowships will be reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid to determine if the student qualifies for financial aid and how, if at all, the fellowship award will affect their eligibility for additional aid.

The ISG is pleased to welcome Dr. Jelena Erceg to our faculty

As part of its mission to advance interdisciplinary research and teaching across all campuses of the University of Connecticut in areas related to genomics, the ISG is pleased to welcome Dr. Jelena Erceg to our faculty. Dr. Erceg, who joined us March 2021, holds a joint appointment between the ISG and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a tenure home in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Her interdisciplinary research lies at the interface between genomics, genetics, developmental biology, and evolution and is a rare and internationally recognized combination of cutting-edge genomics, single molecule resolution cellular imaging, innovative genome sequencing technologies and computational biology.

Dr. Erceg received her Ph.D. at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, where she was a Louis-Jeantet Foundation fellow in the laboratory ofJelena Erceg working in labDr. Eileen Furlong. Dr. Erceg held the position of Postdoctoral Fellow at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany and most recently, she was a EMBO Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. C.-ting Wu’s laboratory at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Erceg brings with her an innovative research vision including studying multi-scale genome organization and gene regulation in multicellular diploid organisms using genomic and single-cell transformative imaging approaches, single-molecule localization and super-resolution microscopy. Her laboratory, which will be housed in the newly completed Engineering and Science Building, will expand her research program to define the fundamental mechanisms guiding parental genome packing and regulation and determine how dysfunctional genome integrity and positioning affect cellular identity in disease and evolution. To this end, her laboratory will deploy haplotype-specific regulatory genomics, bioinformatics, quantitative imaging, and genetics. With Dr. Erceg’s arrival, the ISG will bring new technology to its genomics portfolio in the acquisition of a Bruker Super-Resolution microscope, capable of imaging applications such as nanoscale OligoSTORM and OligoFISSEQ (fluorescence in situ sequencing) using oligo FISH probes (Oligopaints).

The university is excited to welcome Dr. Erceg to its community as her expertise will build new collaborations, support engagement with the ISG research community, broaden participation among under-represented groups, and contribute to an inclusive culture on campus and in the laboratory. Dr. Erceg will advise and mentor students (undergraduate and graduate students) and postdoctoral fellows in research, outreach, and professional development and offer innovative course content in genomics that meet the needs of students in multiple scholarly programs.

 

Selected top 5 publications [* denotes co-first authors]

  1. Erceg J*, AlHaj Abed J*, Goloborodko A*, Lajoie BR, Fudenberg G, Abdennur N, Imakaev M, McCole RB, Nguyen SC, Saylor W, Joyce EF, Senaratne TN, Hannan MA, Nir G, Dekker J, Mirny LA, Wu CT. The genome-wide multi-layered architecture of chromosome pairing in early Drosophila embryos. Nat Commun 10, 4486 (2019).
  2. AlHaj Abed J*, Erceg J*, Goloborodko A*, Nguyen SC, McCole RB, Saylor W, Fudenberg G, Lajoie BR, Dekker J, Mirny LA, Wu CT. Highly structured homolog pairing reflects functional organization of the Drosophila genome. Nat Commun 10, 4485 (2019).
  3. McCole RB*, Erceg J*, Saylor W, Wu CT. Ultraconserved elements occupy specific arenas of three dimensional mammalian genome organization. Cell Reports 24: 479-488 (2018).
  4. Erceg J*, Pakozdi T*, Marco-Ferreres R*, Ghavi-Helm Y, Girardot C, Bracken AP, Furlong EE. Dual functionality of cis-regulatory elements as developmental enhancers and Polycomb response elements. Genes Dev 31: 590-602 (2017).
  5. Erceg J, Saunders TE, Girardot C, Devos DP, Hufnagel L, Furlong EE. Subtle Changes in Motif Positioning Cause Tissue-Specific Effects on Robustness of an Enhancer’s Activity. PLoS Genet 10: e1004060 (2014).