Kavitha Sarma, Ph.D.

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Wistar Institute Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Department: Cell and Developmental Biology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
3601 Spruce St. Rm 232
Philadelphia, PA
Lab: 215-898-3970
Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
Rutgers University, 2007.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests: RNA interactions in epigenetic gene regulation and genome organization.

Keywords: epigenetics, chromatin, polycomb, genome organization, non-coding RNA

Our lab investigates consequences of epigenetic alterations in neuronal cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. We use biochemistry, cell and molecular biology with genome wide approaches to gain mechanistic insight into how chromatin states are modified in disease. Our goal is to identify new pathways and interactions that can be targeted to correct these epigenetic perturbations.

Some topics of interest in the lab include:

• Role of RNA interactions in modulation of gene expression and genome organization.

• Regulation of the epigenetic landscape by the formation and resolution of RNA containing chromatin structures.

• Differential histone variant deposition in normal and disease states and their impact on gene expression programs and genome stability.

Lab Personnel:

Nicole Medeiros M.S.- Research Assistant II
Qingqing Yan Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Fellow
Devinne Miller - Undergraduate Researcher
Joyce Bian - Undergraduate Researcher

Clarissa Guzman - Rotation Student

Students who have been admitted to a graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania are encouraged to inquire about current rotation projects by sending an email to: ksarma@wistar.org.

Selected Publications

Sarma Kavitha, Cifuentes-Rojas Catherine, Ergun Ayla, Del Rosario Amanda, Jeon Yesu, White Forest, Sadreyev Ruslan, Lee Jeannie T: ATRX directs binding of PRC2 to Xist RNA and Polycomb targets. Cell 159(4): 869-83, Nov 2014.

Cifuentes-Rojas Catherine, Hernandez Alfredo J, Sarma Kavitha, Lee Jeannie T: Regulatory interactions between RNA and polycomb repressive complex 2. Molecular cell 55(2): 171-85, Jul 2014.

Dimitrova Nadya, Zamudio Jesse R, Jong Robyn M, Soukup Dylan, Resnick Rebecca, Sarma Kavitha, Ward Amanda J, Raj Arjun, Lee Jeannie T, Sharp Phillip A, Jacks Tyler: LincRNA-p21 activates p21 in cis to promote Polycomb target gene expression and to enforce the G1/S checkpoint. Molecular cell 54(5): 777-90, Jun 2014.

Simon Matthew D, Pinter Stefan F, Fang Rui, Sarma Kavitha, Rutenberg-Schoenberg Michael, Bowman Sarah K, Kesner Barry A, Maier Verena K, Kingston Robert E, Lee Jeannie T: High-resolution Xist binding maps reveal two-step spreading during X-chromosome inactivation. Nature 504(7480): 465-9, Dec 2013.

Jeon Yesu, Sarma Kavitha, Lee Jeannie T: New and Xisting regulatory mechanisms of X chromosome inactivation. Current opinion in genetics & development 22(2): 62-71, Apr 2012.

Zhao Jing, Ohsumi Toshiro K, Kung Johnny T, Ogawa Yuya, Grau Daniel J, Sarma Kavitha, Song Ji Joon, Kingston Robert E, Borowsky Mark, Lee Jeannie T: Genome-wide identification of polycomb-associated RNAs by RIP-seq. Molecular cell 40(6): 939-53, Dec 2010.

Sarma Kavitha, Levasseur Pierre, Aristarkhov Alexander, Lee Jeannie T: Locked nucleic acids (LNAs) reveal sequence requirements and kinetics of Xist RNA localization to the X chromosome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(51): 22196-201, Dec 2010.

Margueron Raphael, Li Guohong, Sarma Kavitha, Blais Alexandre, Zavadil Jiri, Woodcock Christopher L, Dynlacht Brian D, Reinberg Danny: Ezh1 and Ezh2 maintain repressive chromatin through different mechanisms. Molecular cell 32(4): 503-18, Nov 2008.

Sarma Kavitha, Margueron Raphael, Ivanov Alexey, Pirrotta Vincenzo, Reinberg Danny: Ezh2 requires PHF1 to efficiently catalyze H3 lysine 27 trimethylation in vivo. Molecular and cellular biology 28(8): 2718-31, Apr 2008.

Xiao Bing, Jing Chun, Kelly Geoff, Walker Philip A, Muskett Frederick W, Frenkiel Thomas A, Martin Stephen R, Sarma Kavitha, Reinberg Danny, Gamblin Steven J, Wilson Jonathan R: Specificity and mechanism of the histone methyltransferase Pr-Set7. Genes & development 19(12): 1444-54, Jun 2005.

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Last updated: 03/12/2018
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