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Keriayn Smith and Jeremy Wang

Drs. Keriayn Smith (Assistant Professor, Genetics) and Jeremy Wang (Assistant Professor, Genetics) were each awarded $10K grants from the UNC SOM Office of Research as part of the COVID-19 Supplemental Funding program.

Dr. Smith’s proposal focuses on a lncRNA involved in maintenance of self-renewing stem cells.  Her lab is working to study context-dependent roles in multipotency using normal neural progenitor cells, differentiated derivatives and cancer cells. These studies will contribute to better understanding of the roles lncRNAs play in the dysregulation of the normal cellular processes through which diseased cell types arise.

Dr. Wang’s proposal focuses on understanding the gut microbiome to provide critical insights into microbiota function in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). While luminal, fecal, and mucosa-associated (adherent) microbiota have been independently associated with colitis in humans and mice, the mucosa-associated microbiome is thought to be more directly relevant to host immune response and disease state. However, the mucosa-associated microbiome is not amenable to traditional shotgun metagenome sequencing due to prohibitively high host DNA contamination. His project aims to identify taxonomic and functional variation in mucosa-associated microbiota by novel metagenome sequencing in WT and IL10-/- mice.