Department of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics Virtual Seminar Series



Friday, May 7, 2021


Eric Greer, PhD

Assistant Professor

Division of Newborn Medicine/Pediatrics

Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School


Characterization of a New Epigenetic Model Organism and Modification”


Non-genetic information regulates complex phenotypes from longevity to energy metabolism. However, our understanding of how this epigenetic information can regulate these complex phenotypes is still incompletely understood. My lab aims to discover new fundamental principles of epigenetic regulation and understand how, when epigenetic regulation goes awry, diseases develop. Here I will describe some of our recent work developing the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, as a new epigenetic model organism. We are using Dictyostelium to examine the role of epigenetics in regulating the evolution of multicellularity. I will also describe our characterization of a novel ribosomal RNA methyltransferase, METL-5, which regulates the translation of specific transcripts in response to stress in Caenorhabditis elegans. We have identified this rRNA methylation controls the translation of a cytochrome P450 enzyme responsible for oxidizing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to produce eicosanoid signaling lipids. We find that metl-5 deficient animals are resistant to a variety of stresses and show reduced levels of bioactive lipid eicosanoids. Interestingly, dietary supplementation of eicosanoids restores stress sensitivity in metl-5 mutant worms. This study suggests that ribosome methylation can facilitate selective translation of specific transcripts providing another layer of regulation of the stress response.



Please send an email to Tamara Brock ( if you are interested in the Zoom seminar