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Faculty headshot of Thelma Escobar, PhD

Thelma Escobar PhD

Biochemistry
Assistant Professor

Email: escobart@uw.edu | Phone:


Our laboratory utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to study the epigenetic mechanisms that shape developmental systems. We are particularly interested in discovering mechanisms determinant to gene expression programs that facilitate epigenetic inheritance and confer cellular identity. We merge methods in stem cell biology, immune biology, and biochemistry to capture information at a broad molecular level, as well as employ targeted approaches that reveal chromatin features with high resolution.

Current research in the lab involves:

--Investigating how histone inheritance preserves chromatin domains. Chromosome replication requires the accurate reassembly of histones onto each DNA copy, as well as the preservation of the interactions associated with histone H3 and H4 post-translational modifications (PTMs). We study how histones, with specific PTMs, are reassembled within stem cells and analyze whether these epigenetic features of chromatin shape immunological memory.

--Identifying mechanisms for cell fate determination. During development, a delicate balance exists in which the duplication of chromatin must be faithfully conserved across cell cycles to preserve cellular identity while also permitting changes to facilitate cellular diversity. We examine the events that link chromatin replication with cell fate determination, in the context of immune cell development and differentiation.