About Student Research

Lauren Mogil (2012–2016)

How does DNA supercoiling in cells affect DNA looping?

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 Dr. Maher's lab, Mogil's thesis project involves the study of how the state of long DNA molecules folded within living cells influences their ability to form small loops in the presence of DNA binding proteins. The DNA double helix in living cells is not relaxed, but stores energy in the form of supercoiling, an underwound state in which the DNA folds back on itself and occupies less space. Supercoiled DNA involves crowding of DNA sequences, so it might be expected to increase the probability of DNA loops. Mogil's project studied how the probability of DNA looping in the E. coli lactose operon increases with increased DNA supercoiling.