Mauro Calabrese, Ph.D.

Mauro Calabrese, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Mauro received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2001 and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007, where he studied small RNA-mediated gene regulation under Dr. Phillip Sharp. In 2008, he moved to UNC Chapel Hill to study mechanisms of epigenetic regulation by long noncoding RNA as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Terry Magnuson’s laboratory. He began as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UNC in March of 2014.

Jackson Trotman

Jackson Trotman, Ph.D., Postdoctoral fellow

Jackson received his B.S. in chemistry and biology from UNC Chapel Hill in 2013, where he was introduced to RNA research working with Bill Marzluff. He studied gene regulation via RNA recapping with Dan Schoenberg at The Ohio State University, receiving his Ph.D. in biochemistry in May 2018. In August 2018, Jackson returned to UNC as a member of the Calabrese lab, where he is investigating the molecular mechanisms of how lncRNAs regulate gene expression by sequestering mRNA on chromatin.


David Lee

David Lee, Graduate student

David received a B.S. in biology from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL in 2012. After working for a year as a research technician at The Ohio State University, he entered the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program (BBSP) at UNC Chapel Hill. He joined the Calabrese lab and the curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology in 2014 and is working to profile the chromatin state of the inactive X chromosome using mouse cell models and ChIP-Seq.


Megan Schertzer, Graduate student

Megan graduated in 2012 from Lee University in Cleveland, TN with a degree in biochemistry. During a year off, she spent three months doing research in the Pediatric Oncology Education Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and six months volunteering at a rural medical clinic in Honduras. After completing her first year in BBSP at UNC, she joined the Calabrese lab and the Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology in May of 2014. She is currently working to delete Kcnq1ot1 and Air lncRNAs in trophoblast stem cells to study their specific role in altering the chromatin state in their respective imprinted regions.

Jessime Kirk, Graduate student

Jessime graduated in 2014 from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY with a B.S. in Biochemistry. He joined the lab in May of 2015 and is a graduate student in the Curriculum in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. He works on predicting lncRNA biology and function based on their sequence content, and is interested in building software that improves biological research.


Dan Sprague

Dan Sprague, Graduate student

Dan graduated from The College of New Jersey with a B.S. in Biology and then came to UNC to pursue a Ph.D. in the Department of Pharmacology. He is interested in uncovering how the genomic sequences of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) define their functionality, as well as the evolution and conservation of these lncRNAs.

Rachel Cherney

Rachel Cherney, Graduate student

Rachel Cherney earned her B.S. in Genetics and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her time at Wisconsin, she spent several years studying the mechanisms and characteristics of origins of replication in budding yeast, under the guidance of Dr. Catherine Fox. After her first year with BBSP, she joined the Calabrese Lab as a Genetics and Molecular Biology student and studies how RNA binding proteins are involved in lncRNA mediated gene silencing.


Keean Braceros, Graduate student

Keean received his B.S. in Biochemistry in 2015 from the University of Portland in Portland, OR. He spent the subsequent two years working as a research technician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA under Dr. Toshio Tsukiyama. Thereafter, he entered the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP) at UNC-Chapel Hill to invest his interest in chromatin and epigenetics. In the spring of 2018, Keean became a member of both the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and the Calabrese lab. He is currently working to elucidate mechanisms of lncRNA-mediated genome regulation through Polycomb group proteins.