Meredith Eckstein

My project studies how long term, low dose exposure to arsenic leads to cancer development. Specifically, I investigate changes to chromatin structure that contribute to this process. Chromatin refers to the DNA and the proteins around which it’s wrapped that allow it to compact inside the nucleus of a cell. There are four common types of proteins, called histones, which help compact the DNA, but sometimes, variants of those histones get incorporated into the chromatin instead. Interestingly, exposure to arsenic causes an abnormal presence of these histone variants, which may be a contributing factor in arsenic-induced cancer development. I aim to understand how these histone variants alter the structure of chromatin and how their involvement after arsenic exposure contributes to cancer development.