Graduate Student Profile - Jennifer Nance

Jennifer Nance, PhD StudentJennifer Nance

Genetics

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Feixia Chu

Research Topic: The function of acetylation for lineage specific differentiation of embryonic stem cells

In my research, I am evaluating the presence of the epigenetic mark, acetylation, and its impact on embryonic stem cells. I study this mark at various time points of stem cell development and analyze its effect as the cell differentiates and gains identity toward particular germ layers for embryo development. As the embryo develops, stem cells of multiple germ layers gain cell identity. Depending on the layer the stem cells originate, they receive signal to become cells of the skin and nervous system (from the ectoderm layer), digestive tract (from the endoderm layer) and so on. I focus mostly on the trophectoderm layer, which is the outermost layer of cells that make up the embryo. This layer directly contacts the endometrium, where the embryo receives nutrients throughout development. Successful differentiation of this layer is critical to the well-being of mammalian embryo development.

Hobbies: Traveling here from the Midwest, I find myself enjoying the more mountainous terrain especially in northern NH and Maine for weekend hikes. I also recently have taken up the hobby of baking homemade donuts and finding time for crafting, trying out new workouts and foods.

Why I chose UNH: As UNH is driven heavily by research with many faculty members of various backgrounds, I was excited to be a part of an environment constantly motivated by advancements in research in the laboratory setting.