Dr. Anna Berenson of the Fuxman Bass Lab was selected as the winner of the 2024 Belamarich Award for her doctoral dissertation in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry titled “Paired Yeast One-Hybrid Assays to Detect DNA-Binding Cooperativity and Antagonism Across Transcription Factors.” The selection committee was impressed by the quality of Anna’s work, its combination of methods development, observational studies, and computational analyses, and its potential for informing future research in the field of gene regulation. More information about her research is below.

For her dissertation, Anna developed paired yeast one-hybrid (pY1H) assays to study interactions between pairs of transcription factor (TF) proteins and DNA regions of interest. In addition to identifying cooperative DNA binding of TF pairs, pY1H assays also revealed extensive DNA-binding antagonism between TFs, constituting a previously underappreciated mechanism to regulate TF-DNA binding. Anna further applied pY1H assays to study the role of TF-TF relationships in cytokine gene regulation, the effect of alternative TF isoform usage on these relationships, and the effect of viral proteins on human TF-DNA binding. This work contributes to our understanding of how TF-DNA interactions are specified and provides a useful method that can be applied to further elucidate TF-TF relationships and their role in transcriptional regulation.

Anna will be continuing her academic career as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Jef Boeke at the NYU Langone Health Institute for Systems Genetics.

Congratulations, Anna!