Jesse Engreitz, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow studying molecular biology and genomics with Professor Eric Lander at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Jesse is fascinated by the mechanisms that regulate gene expression and the possibility that we might manipulate them to control cellular behavior. Building on advances in genomics that bring the power of big data to bear on biology, Jesse uses a combination of biochemistry, genetics, and computational biology to dissect mechanisms of gene regulation.
During his PhD in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Jesse focused on the functions of a recently discovered class of RNA molecules in cells that do not encode proteins. Some of these so-called long noncoding RNAs are critical molecular machines that are essential for life, and Jesse invented novel biochemical techniques that provided insights into how these machines operate. Surprisingly, Jesse also discovered that many of these long noncoding RNAs themselves are not critical players — instead, the very act of their production has a key regulatory role.
Jesse's current work focuses on applying these insights to decode the fundamental wiring of cells — that is, the connections between regulatory elements in the vast noncoding regions of the genome and the genes they control.
In his free time, Jesse enjoys teaching genetics; performing as a pianist and singer; cooking Chinese and Thai food; and traveling.