About Student Research

Lauren Mogil (2012-present)

Just how stiff is DNA anyhow?

Lauren Mogil received her undergraduate degree from Loyola University in her native Chicago, where she became interested in biochemistry and applications of bioinformatics to molecular research. In the Maher lab, Lauren’s thesis project involves the development of new experimental and theoretical approaches to measuring the ability of tiny segments of DNA to undergo the gymnastics required for cellular function.

Though threadlike when viewed from a distance, DNA is more like a rod when considered over lengths of dozens of base pairs where proteins recognize specific sequences and bind selectively. DNA resists bending, twisting, and looping over these distances. Experimental tools have not yet allowed this inflexibility to be measured for the kinds of looped DNA structures that form when proteins bound to distant DNA sites interact with one another. Lauren’s project involves developing new approaches that use chemical cross-linking and deep sequencing to measure the probabilities of different kinds of DNA loops that are relevant in gene control within cells.