RNA Faculty Spotlight – Stephen Parker, Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics and Human Genetics

Stephen C.J. Parker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics
Department of Human Genetics

Lab website

Research interests

We study the effects of genetic variation on chromatin architecture and transcriptional regulation at single-cell resolution. Our research group uses an integrative approach in the general fields of computational biology and functional genomics. The major goal of the lab is to generate mechanistic knowledge about how disease susceptibility is encoded in the non-coding portion of the genome, with a focus on complex metabolic diseases including diabetes and related traits.

  • What is the role of RNA in your research?
    Non-coding genetic variations are the inherited foundation of complex disease predisposition. Most of these influence gene regulation in some nuanced way. Understanding the context-specificity of how these gene regulatory variants work will illuminate the common pathways for complex diseases. Thus, the quantitative questions of when, where, and how much RNAs are transcribed are at the heart of our research program.
  • Who/what brought you to science?
    The complex beauty in nature and an insatiable desire to understand some of how it works. Being able to pursue this as a scientist is a true privilege and an incredibly rewarding way to spend your time. I love working with people who share this curiosity.
  • What advice would you give to students who would like to get more involved in research?
    Develop grit and be humble. I think those are the most important character traits to being successful in research. And, as a bonus, they are transferrable skills for other aspects of your life.
  • Are there any opportunities for students to engage in your projects, currently or in the future?
    Absolutely! We are always looking for diverse trainees to join our team. Our projects span the range of wet lab experiments to programming to computational data integration and analyses.
  • What other profession would you enjoy, or what is your favorite hobby?
    Soccer, cycling, and sports car racing.

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