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Interim Chair

Research: Histone modifications and epigenetics; core techniques: yeast genetics, peptide synthesis, peptide arrays, mammalian cell culture

Associate Chair of Transition & Planning
Oliver Smithies investigator, Professor
Diversity Committee Member

Faculty Director, UNC High-throughput Peptide Synthesis and Array Facility
Co-Director of Chromatin and Epigenetics Program
(PhD – NC State University)


Trained Faculty Mentor endorsed by Office of Graduate Ed UNC Chapel Hill


  • UNC Excellence in Basic Science Mentoring Award, 2019
  • UNC Oliver Smithies Investigator, 2018
  • NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 2018
  • Philip & Ruth Hettleman Prize, 2009
  • NIH Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA) award, 2008
  • Jefferson-Pilot Fellow in Academic Medicine, UNC, 2006
  • North Carolina State University Outstanding Alumnus Award, 2005
  • Schering-Plough Research Institute Award, 2004
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2003
  • Pew Scholar (Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences), 2003


Eukaryotic genomes are packaged into the nuclei of cells through the actions of histone proteins. These proteins not only play a role in condensing the genome but are fundamental to establishing and maintaining chromatin domains such as euchromatin and heterochromatin. Our lab is addressing how chromatin organization achieved and what factors make the underlying DNA permissive to the protein machineries that drive transcription, replication, recombination, and repair. A large body of work shows that histone post-translational modifications are central to the regulation of chromatin structure and function. These modifications, which include acetylation and methylation, decorate histones and function, at least in part, by recruiting chromatin regulatory proteins to the sites of these modifications. Current efforts are aimed at understanding how histone modifications are installed and removed, and how they are interpreted to regulate genome function.



Mechanically transduced immunosorbent assay to measure protein-protein interactions. Petell CJ, Randene K, Pappas M, Sandoval D, Strahl BD, Harrison JS, Steimel JP.Elife. 2021 Sep 28;10:e67525. doi: 10.7554/eLife.67525.

Binding specificity and function of the SWI/SNF subunit SMARCA4 bromodomain interaction with acetylated histone H3K14. Enríquez P, Krajewski K, Strahl BD, Rothbart SB, Dowen RH, Rose RB.J Biol Chem. 2021 Oct;297(4):101145. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101145. Epub 2021 Aug 30.

DNMT1 reads heterochromatic H4K20me3 to reinforce LINE-1 DNA methylation. Ren W, Fan H, Grimm SA, Kim JJ, Li L, Guo Y, Petell CJ, Tan XF, Zhang ZM, Coan JP, Yin J, Kim DI, Gao L, Cai L, Khudaverdyan N, Çetin B, Patel DJ, Wang Y, Cui Q, Strahl BD, Gozani O, Miller KM, O’Leary SE, Wade PA, Wang GG, Song J.Nat Commun. 2021 May 3;12(1):2490. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22665-4.

Yoblinski, A. R., Forester, K., E., Chung, S., Robinson, Strahl, B. D.* & Dronamraju, R.* Catalysis-Dependent and Redundant Roles of Dma1 and Dma2 in Maintenance of Genome Stability in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J Biol Chem. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100721.

Ren, W., Fan, H., Grimm, S., Kim, J. J., Li, L., Guo, Y., Petell, C. Tan, X.-F., Zhnag, Z.-M., Coan, J., Yin, J., Kim, D. I., Gao, L., Cai, L., Khudaverdyan, N. N., Cetin, B., Patel, D., Wang, Y., Cui, Q., Strahl, B. D. , Gozani, O., Miller, K., O’leary, S., Wade, P., Wang, G. G. & Song, J. (2021) DNMT1 reads heterochromatic H4K20me3 to reinforce LINE-1 DNA methylation. Nature Communications. 12:2490.

Jain, K & Strahl, B. D. (2021) Oncohistones: corruption at the core. Nature Chemical Biology. 17:370-371.

Slaughter, M. J., Shanle, E. K., Khan, A., Chua, K. F., Hong, T., Boxer, L. D., Allis, C. D., Josefowicz, S. Z., Garcia, B. A., Rothbart, S. B, Strahl, B. D.* & Davis, I. J.* (2021) HDAC inhibitors result in widespread alteration of the histone acetylation landscape and BRD4 targeting to gene bodies. Cell Reports. 34:108638.

Link to all pubs

Lab Contact

3060 Genetic Medicine

CB #7260

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Office Phone: 919.843.3896 Lab Phone: 919.843.3935

Brian Strahl
  • Biochemistry & Biophysics