Danny Reinberg is a biochemist whose contributions have impacted the fields of mammalian transcription, gene expression and epigenetics. His detailed mechanistic analyses have exposed the specific modus operandi of key and novel factors in accurately modulating the transcriptional output as a function of increasingly complex, biologically relevant DNA templates. Reinberg was born in Santiago, Chile in 1954 where he grew up. He graduated from the Catholic University in Valparaiso, Chile in 1976 with a B.S. degree and worked as a Research Associate until 1978. He arrived in the United States to attend Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, being a graduate student under J. Hurwitz in the Department of Biology and Cancer where he received his postdoctoral degree in 1982. And continuing his postdoctoral research with R.G. Roeder at The Rockefeller University in New York. From 1986 until 2006, he was Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In 1994, he became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Distinguished University Professor at RWJM in New Jersey. As of 2006, Danny Reinberg has continued his research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York.

Research Interests

How the process of mammalian development gives rise to tissue specificity, how this specificity is maintained upon cell division, and how the information we seek pertains directly to diseased states that arise because of alterations in the packing of the DNA and/or mutations is of fundamental importance. My laboratory focuses on the molecular basis of gene repression to molecularly understand the generation of different cell lineages. This repression entails the physical compaction of chromatin such that the embedded genes are not accessible to the transcription machinery. Importantly, the cues within chromatin that dictate its compaction are inherited when cells divide such that the daughter cells retain this particular cellular lineage. Amongst the many features of this repression, we study the factors responsible for maintaining gene repression. These factors include proteins that catalyze the post-translational modification of histones that provides the platform for chromatin compaction. We have learned the role of these proteins in the inheritance of repression. We are currently studying the mechanisms underlying the cellular compartmentalization of repressed genes and how their 3-dimensional structure is derived and maintained. Without such maintenance, repressed genes would be subject to inappropriate expression, as in the case of cancerous cells comprising proteins mutant in this process. What sets us apart from the mainstream research is our mechanistic approach to understanding this intricate process.

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Primary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry

Secondary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology