Ting Wu

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Chao-ting Wu
Ting Wu 25Jul2010.jpg
Ting Wu 8-Jul-2010
Born (1954-01-24) January 24, 1954 (age 63)
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Residence Brookline, Massachusetts
Nationality United States
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Harvard University
Awards National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award
Website www.homologyeffects.org
Scientific career
Fields Genetics, homology effects
Institutions Harvard University
Thesis  (1984)
Doctoral advisor William Gelbart

Chao-ting Wu (born January 24, 1954) is an American molecular biologist. After training at Harvard Medical School in genetics with William Gelbart, at Stanford Medical School with David Hogness, and in a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in molecular biology, Wu began her independent academic career as an assistant professor in Anatomy and Cellular Biology and then Genetics at Harvard Medical School in 1993. After a period as Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Molecular Medicine at the Boston Children's Hospital, she returned to the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School as a full professor in 2007.

Wu's research has focused on the role of chromosome behavior gene activity and inheritance, with emphasis on widespread homology effects, phenomena in which homology between chromosomes plays a role. Her studies have explored transvection in genetics, polycomb-group genes, chromatin pairing and remodeling, and the mechanisms of bridging promoter and enhancer elements within and between chromosomes. She also studies ultra-conserved elements (UCEs), proposing that these highly conserved sequences play a role in maintaining genome integrity, and has discussed potential opportunities for therapeutics harnessing properties of UCEs in many venues, including in TEDx and the Google-sponsored Solve for X program.

Wu has made significant contributions in the area of science education in genetics, across many age groups, through work with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of Natural History and is founding director of the Personal Genetics Education Project, which works through schools, online curricula, teacher training, and producers and writers of the television and movie industry through involvement with the trade-supporting organization Hollywood, Health & Society. She is daughter of author Nelson Ikon Wu, sister of actor Ping Wu, and colleague and spouse of Harvard and MIT scientist George M. Church.

Training and career[edit]

Wu attended Mary Institute (now Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, MICDS) in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1968 to 1972 and then completed her undergraduate BS degree in Biology at Harvard University. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in 1984 from Harvard Medical School in Genetics and then following a brief period at Stanford Medical School with David Hogness, set up a non-profit research institute in Cheshire, Connecticut, called the Station for Natural Studies Inc., which received grant funding from the Whitehall Foundation and the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation. She was affiliated with nearby Yale University during this time. Wu was a fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Department of Molecular Biology from 1987 to 1991. She moved to Harvard Medical School’s main campus as an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology and then joined the Department of Genetics, also at Harvard Medical School, in 1993. In 2005, she left the Department of Genetics to become a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Molecular Medicine at the Boston Children's Hospital. She returned to the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School as a full professor in 2007.[1][2][3]

Research[edit]

Since 1980, Dr. Wu's research has focused on the role of chromosome behavior in inheritance and gene activity, with emphasis on the widespread phenomena in which homology between chromosomes plays a role. She coined the term "homology effects" to highlight these phenomena.[4][5] Her studies explore transvection,[6] the zeste gene, chromosome pairing,[7] and Polycomb-group genes and chromatin remodeling.[8] She has also characterized the mechanisms of bridging promoter and enhancer elements within and between chromosomes.[9][10]

As stated by nobelist Ed Lewis, "Operationally, transvection is occurring if the phenotype of a given genotype can be altered solely by disruption of somatic (or meiotic) pairing. Such disruption can generally be accomplished by introduction of a heterozygous rearrangement that disrupts pairing in the relevant region but has no position effect of its own on the phenotype" [4]

She also studies ultra-conserved elements (UCEs). Her lab has proposed that these highly conserved sequences may play a role in maintaining genome integrity.[11]

Honors and leadership roles[edit]

Wu was one of ten people in the US to receive the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award in 2012. She has also received awards for teaching and mentoring at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School.

She has chaired the 2005 Epigenetics Gordon Research Conference,[12] the 2003 FASEB Conference on Chromatin and Transcription, and the GETed Conferences.[13]

Technology Development[edit]

Ting Wu has four patents pending on topics related to biomedical research and health applications “Oligonucleotide Trapping “ (2013), “High-Throughput In Situ Hybridization” (2012), “Methods For Sequencing Nucleic Acid Molecules” (2012), and “Oligonucleotide Paints” (2010).[14]

She has been interviewed by the Boston Globe on the topic of inventors.[15] In the context of TEDx and Google "Solve for X" she has discussed potential opportunities for therapeutics harnessing properties of UCEs.[16][17]

Genetics Education[edit]

She has worked with the Smithsonian and the National Museum of Natural History as part of the exhibit on “Genome: Unlocking Life's Code” which opened June 14, 2013.[18][19]

She is founding director of the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd; link), which works through schools, online curricula, teacher training, and producers and writers of the television and movie industry through Hollywood, Health & Society [20] of the Norman Lear Center and the National Academy of Sciences' program on Science & Entertainment Exchange.[21] Her work with Hollywood Health and Society and Grey’s Anatomy brings accurate and engaging information about genetics to a broader audience.[22][23]

PgEd Logo

In bringing genetics directly to high school students across a broad socioeconomic spectrum throughout the US and in workshops with high school and college teachers, she uses empirically engaging topics like prenatal diagnosis and the biological challenges of Mars colonization.[24][25][26][27]

She is featured in the documentary series "Genome: The Future is Now", produced by Marilyn Ness of Necessary Films.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Ting Wu is married to fellow Harvard Medical School faculty in genetics, George M. Church.[29] She is daughter of author Nelson Ikon Wu, and sister of actor Ping Wu.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Harvard Medical School Genetics Faculty". Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Personal Genetics Education Project staff". Retrieved 31 Oct 2013. 
  3. ^ "Wu Lab, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, home page". Retrieved 29 Dec 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Wu CT, Morris JR; Morris (April 1999). "Transvection and other homology effects". Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 9 (2): 237–46. PMID 10322135. doi:10.1016/S0959-437X(99)80035-5. 
  5. ^ C-ting Wu, ed. (March 20, 2002). Homology Effects. Academic Press. pp. 564 pages. ISBN 012401366X. 
  6. ^ Morris JR, Chen J-l, Geyer PK, Wu C-t.; Chen; Geyer; Wu (1998). "Two modes of transvection: Enhancer action in trans and bypass of a chromatin insulator in cis". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 95 (18): 10740–5. Bibcode:1998PNAS...9510740M. PMC 27965Freely accessible. PMID 9724774. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.18.10740. 
  7. ^ Joyce EF, Williams BR, Xie T, Wu C-t.; Williams; Xie; Wu (2012). "Identification of genes that promote or antagonize somatic homolog pairing using a high-throughput FISH-based screen". PLoS Genetics. 8 (5): e1002667. PMC 3349724Freely accessible. PMID 22589731. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002667. 
  8. ^ Emmons RB, Genetti H, Filandrinos S, Lokere J, Wu C-t.; Genetti; Filandrinos; Lokere; Wu (2009). "Molecular genetic analysis of Suppressor 2 of zeste identifies key functional domains". Genetics. 182 (4): 999–1013. PMC 2728886Freely accessible. PMID 19528329. doi:10.1534/genetics.108.097360. 
  9. ^ Lee AM, Wu CT; Wu (December 2006). "Enhancer-promoter communication at the yellow gene of Drosophila melanogaster: diverse promoters participate in and regulate trans interactions". Genetics. 174 (4): 1867–80. PMC 1698615Freely accessible. PMID 17057235. doi:10.1534/genetics.106.064121. 
  10. ^ Ou SA, Chang E, Lee S, So K, Wu CT, Morris JR; Chang; Lee; So; Wu; Morris (October 2009). "Effects of chromosomal rearrangements on transvection at the yellow gene of Drosophila melanogaster". Genetics. 183 (2): 483–96. PMC 2766311Freely accessible. PMID 19667134. doi:10.1534/genetics.109.106559. 
  11. ^ Chiang CWK, Derti A, Schwartz D, Chou MF, Hirschhorn JN, Wu C-t.; Derti; Schwartz; Chou; Hirschhorn; Wu (2008). "Ultraconserved elements: Analyses of dosage sensitivity, motifs, and boundaries". Genetics. 180 (4): 2277–93. PMC 2600958Freely accessible. PMID 18957701. doi:10.1534/genetics.108.096537. 
  12. ^ "Epigenetics Gordon Research Conference, Holderness, NH; Chairs: Chao-Ting Wu & Judith Bender". August 7–12, 2005. 
  13. ^ "GETed Conference". April 26–27, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Chao-ting Wu Patents and Applications". Harvard University Office of Technology Development. Retrieved 3 Nov 2013. 
  15. ^ Carolyn Y. Johnson (2 Jul 2013). "Do inventors get enough respect in science?". Boston Globe. 
  16. ^ "Google Solve For X, TEDxBeaconStreet". 16 Nov 2013. 
  17. ^ Ting Wu (11 Dec 2013). Ancient Puzzles, Genomic Canaries, Medical X: Ting Wu at TEDxBeconStreet. Brookline, MA: TEDxTalks. Retrieved 29 Dec 2013. 
  18. ^ Megan Gambino (June 26, 2013). "The Scientist Comes to the Classroom". Smithsonian Magazine. 
  19. ^ Dana Waring (June 12, 2013). "Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code at the Smithsonian – Ting Wu and Map-Ed". 
  20. ^ "Hollywood, Health & Society". Retrieved 4 Nov 2013. 
  21. ^ "Science and Entertainment Exchange Event Recap: Science speed dating". 6 Jan 2014. 
  22. ^ Melissa Malamut (3 Oct 2013). "The Science Behind Grey’s Anatomy. How Harvard’s Ting Wu made Dr. Meredith Grey’s genetic testing storyline believable.". Boston Magazine. 
  23. ^ Bernstein R (29 Aug 2013). "Science on set" (PDF). Cell. 154 (5): 949–50. PMID 23993085. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2013.08.011. 
  24. ^ pgEd (May 24, 2013). "Ting visits Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, DC". 
  25. ^ Ann Marie Menting (October 2013). "Dilemmas of Destiny. Genetic predictors of disease can raise thorny ethical issues.". Harvard Medicine. 
  26. ^ Ting Wu & Dana Waring. (2009). "The next generation ..... is in high school". Genomics Law Report. 
  27. ^ Alvin Powell (September 11, 2008). "When genetics gets personal". Harvard Gazette. 
  28. ^ Marilyn Ness. ""Genome: The Future is Now", produced by Necessary Films". Retrieved 3 Nov 2013. 
  29. ^ "Do inventors get enough respect in science?". The Boston Globe. 2013-02-07.