Judith Bender studies gene regulation mechanisms using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model organism. A major research focus is gene silencing, a process where gene expression is blocked by making DNA inaccessible to activating factors. In plants and animals silencing is critical for normal development and for protecting the genome from the spread of invasive parasitic DNA sequences. The Bender laboratory is particularly interested in how silencing is accurately targeted.
Judith Bender is a molecular geneticist who uses the laboratory plant Arabidopsis thaliana to understand basic mechanisms of gene regulation. Professor Bender began as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University in 1995. She moved to the MCB Department of Brown University in 2007. Her research focuses on how gene expression is silenced by DNA methylation. Her work has elucidated a pathway for DNA methylation that depends on methylation of DNA-associated histone proteins. Another of her research interests is understanding how Myb proteins, a ubiquitous and highly conserved group of transcriptional regulators in plants, achieve target gene specificity. Besides providing basic insights into the evolution of Myb proteins, this work is relevant to exploiting Myb transcription factors for metabolic engineering. Professor Bender has taught courses in molecular biology and genetics.
JUDITH BENDER, B.S., Ph.D.
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