Eric Swanson Defends PhD Thesis

Date Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eric SwansonEric Swanson succesfully defended his PhD thesis on Thursday, December 18, 2014. Eric's thesis was titled "Higher-Order Unfolding of Peri/Centric Satellite Heterochromatin is an Early and Consistent Event in Cell Senescence."  Dr. Swanson's mentor was Jeanne Lawrence, PhD. The dissertation exam committee included Hong Zhang, PhD, Oliver Rando MD,PhD, Paul Kaufman, PhD, Jeffrey Nickerson, PhD, and John M. Sedivy, PhD.


Epigenetic changes to chromatin are thought to be essential to cell senescence, a process key to aging and preventing tumorigenesis. Although many previous studies of senescence have focused on heterochromatin gain, this work demonstrates large-scale unraveling of peri/centromeric satellites, which occurs in all models of human and mouse senescence examined and in benign senescent tumors in vivo. This phenomenon which we termed the Senescence-Associated Distension of Satellites (SADS) occurs earlier and more consistently than heterochromatin foci formation, and is not exclusive to either the p16 or p21 pathways. Additionally, SADS represents a novel, cytological-scale unfolding of chromatin, which is not concomitant with changes to several canonical histone marks or a result of DNA hypomethylation. Rather, SADS is likely mediated by changes to proteins that play a role in higher-order chromatin organization such as the nuclear structure protein, LaminB1.

Congratulations Eric! Photos courtesy of Meg Byron and Carol Rodgers.

Eric Swanson Mentor Jeanne Lawrence, Eric Swanson, and mother Carol Rodgers
Eric Swanson delivers his thesis presentation. Jeanne Lawrence, Eric Swanson, and Carol Rodgers
Jeanne Lawrence toasts Eric Swanson Eric poses with his mother
Mentor Jeanne Lawrence toasts Eric Swanson. Eric poses with his mother, Carol Rodgers.
Eric Swanson Wah Hoo Cake
Congratulations Eric! Wah Hoo Dr. Swanson!
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