Tasha Strande, Ph.D.
Tasha Strande, Ph.D.
Dr. Tasha Strande is currently a Postdoctoral fellow actively involved in many ongoing projects in the lab. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Denison University and continued her scientific training at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received her PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Throughout the course of her doctoral training she focused her attention on understanding the molecular underpinnings of DNA repair, in particular the repair of DNA double strand breaks. Using molecular biology techniques, she was involved in identifying and characterizing a novel enzymatic activity attributed to the DNA repair protein, Ku. She then evaluated the protein and substrate requirements necessary to facilitate the novel enzymatic function of the protein. Her final efforts in her doctoral lab were aimed at evaluating the potential biological significance of Ku’s enzymatic activity in the process of antibody diversification (class-switch recombination – a process in which Ku is critical).
Upon joining the Berg lab, Dr. Strande shifted her attention from evaluating the functional outcome resulting from protein alterations to evaluating how mutations at the DNA level impact the function of the gene. She is actively involved in the following ongoing clinical projects in the Berg Lab:
- NCGENES (North Carolina Clinical Genomic Evaluation by Next-generation Exome Sequencing): NCGENES is a clinical research study aimed at evaluating the use of whole exome sequencing for clinical diagnosis in a diverse set of patients with a broad range of genetic disorders. Dr. Strande serves as a molecular analyst for this project by assessing the clinical relevance of variants identified in our patient-participants. She also works with the UNC Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory to perform a secondary review of the genomic variant data and subsequently prepares the clinical reports that are returned to the patients.
- NC NEXUS (North Carolina Newborn Exome sequencing for Universal Screening):
Dr. Strande is a member of the NEXUS “Binning” committee, which has been tasked with assessing the clinical actionability of gene-disease pairs in childhood onset genetic disorders with the end-goal of determining which genes should be included in our newborn exome screening research study.
- ClinGen (Clinical Genome Resource):
As a member of both the Actionability Working Group and the Gene Curation Working Group, Dr. Strande is involved in assessing the clinical actionability of genes-disease pairs and curating the evidence supporting a gene-disease pair to assess the strength of that evidence. She is a driving member of the Gene Curation work group in the development of the gene curation process. This work is part of a larger effort funded by NIH.