Megan Trotter, Ph.D. Candidate
Human Genetics,Medical School
Faculty-Mentor – Dr. Sundeep Kalantry
- What are your research interests?
I study epigenetic factors that influence X-chromosome inactivation. X-inactivation takes place in female mammals to equalize X-linked gene expression to that of males. However, even in cells that have undergone X-inactivation, there is still expression of some “escape” genes from the inactive X-chromosome. I am interested in an escape gene called Kdm5c. The higher expression of Kdm5c in females compared to males even after X-chromosome inactivation suggests that it plays a role in a female-specific process such as X-inactivation itself. Understanding the role of KDM5C in X-inactivation will help us to uncover potential therapies for females with X-linked genetic disorders.
- How does RNA relate to your research interests, and why?
By monitoring RNA expression from the inactive X-chromosome via RNA-sequencing, I can determine if genes are reactivated on the inactive-X in the absence of Kdm5c. Monitoring RNA expression is essential to helping me to understand mechanisms of X-inactivation maintenance.
- Is there a layman image that could illustrate your research?
- How did you become interested in this topic?
I’ve always been interested in the clinical implications of genetics research. I became interested in this topic because I want to better understand maintenance of X-inactivation so that I can uncover potential therapies for X-linked genetic disorders.
- Who/what brought you to science?
My 7th grade science teacher got me interested in biology, and genetics in particular. I have wanted to study molecular genetics and genetic disorders ever since!
- What brought you to the University of Michigan?
I was drawn to the University of Michigan because of the variety of labs I could join. I entered as a PIBS student and enjoyed being able to rotate in different labs during my first year.
- What are the main challenges/concerns to achieve your professional goals?
I’d say my biggest challenge right now is trying to regain normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Zoom has allowed me to meet with professionals in different fields virtually! So, I am able to connect and learn about careers in a new way.
- What’s your favorite hobby?
Crochet, sports, and reading!
In 2019, the Center organized a Scientific Image Contest where Megan Trotter won the first prize for this image: