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Assistant Professor, Genetics 

Research Interests

Keywords: Genetics/Development/Chromatin remodeling/Gametogenesis/Meiosis

Gametogenesis is a process in which germ cells undergo meiosis to give rise to haploid sperm and egg. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie gametogenesis has profound clinical implications with respect to fertility. I am interested in studying the role of chromatin regulation in gamete development. Our current research is focused on determining the functions of the SWI/SNF family of chromatin remodelers during mouse spermatogenesis.  By adopting a combination of genetic, genomic and proteomic techniques we have shown that the mammalian SWI/SNF complex coordinates  germline transcription to ensure spermatogonial  stem cell pluripotency and promote meiotic progression. Our studies indicate that distinct SWI/SNF subcomplexes, namely, BAF (Brm/Brg1 Associated Factor) and PBAF (Polybromo-BAF) regulate spermatogenesis in a cell type specific manner. We have discovered novel associations between BAF/PBAF complexes and germ cell specific proteins and are currently investigating the physiological relevance of these interactions.

Mentor Training:

  • DEI Program Part 1: Unconscious Bias Awareness
  • DEI Program Part 2: Respecting All
  • REI Racial Equity Workshop Phase 1


  • PubMed
  • Menon, D.U. and Magnuson, T. (2020). Mammalian SWI/SNF chromatin remodeler essential for reductional meiosis in males. bioRxiv (Preprint)  doi:
  • Menon, D.U., Shibata, Y., Mu, W., and Magnuson, T. (2019). Mammalian SWI/SNF collaborates with a polycomb-associated protein to regulate male germ line transcription in the mouse. Development 146: dev.174094. doi:10.1242/dev.174094
  • Serber, D.W., Runge, J.S., Menon, D.U., and Magnuson, T. (2016). The mouse INO80 chromatin remodeling complex is an essential meiotic factor for spermatogenesis. Biology of Reproduction. 94 (1) 8, 1-9.

Debashish U. Menon in UNC Genetics News

Debu Menon
  • Genetics