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Mauro Calabrese, Ph.D.


Principal Investigator

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Pharmacology

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.

Current Members:

Jackson Trotman

Jackson B. TROTMAN, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral 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.


Graduate Research Assistant/Doctoral Candidate

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 studying how lncRNA regulate chromatin and transcription through Polycomb group proteins.

Rachel Cherney


Graduate Research Assistant/Doctoral Candidate

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.

Mickey M. MURVIN

Graduate Research Assistant

Mickey received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2019 from the University of Richmond (UR). During her time at UR, she spent several years studying translation initiation and RNA helicases under the guidance of Dr. Angie Hilliker. She entered the BBSP program at UNC in 2019 to study RNA, and joined both the curriculum for Genetics and Molecular Biology and the Calabrese lab in the spring of 2020 to study lncRNA-mediated gene silencing.


PREP Student

Former Members:

Graduate Students

Daniel SPRAGUE, Ph.D. (2016-2020) – Computational Biologist at Flagship Labs

David M. LEE, Ph.D. (2013-2019) – Life Sciences Patent Agent at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Megan D. SCHERTZER, Ph.D. (2013-2019) – Post-doctoral fellow (Dr. David Knowles lab) at New York Genome Center

Jessime M. KIRK, Ph.D. (2014-2018) – Bioinformatics Engineer at Invitae






Undergraduate Research Assistants

Allison BAKER – Graduate Student at Harvard University

Colby TUBBS – Graduate Student at Vanderbilt University