Sitapriya Moorthi

Staff Scientist

May 2019 - November 2023


I am a post-doctoral research fellow in Dr. Alice Berger’s lab, Human Biology division. I am currently working on understanding the genomic landscape of lung-adenocarcinoma in patients with no history of smoking. To pursue this work, I received the Translational Data Science Integrated Research Center post-doctoral fellowship award, for which Dr. Gavin Ha is my co-mentor. This project is founded on the samples curated by the Women’s Health Initiative study and hopes to identify novel mutations within this cohort of patients that could potentially be targeted.

Prior to the Hutch, I graduated with a Ph.D. in Genetics from Stony Brook University in 2017. During my Ph.D. I was awarded the Scholars in Biomedical Sciences award to pursue an additional translational track for my thesis work, co-mentored by Dr. Michael Schuster. My thesis was focused on understanding oncogene driven transcriptional regulation through alternative promoters in Leukemia. I showed that the oncogene Bcr-Abl up-regulated the expression of the pro-proliferative gene, Sphingomyelin synthase 1, by promoting its transcription from a novel transcriptional start-site (TSS) close to its translational start-sites. This shift in TSS resulted in a shorter mRNA with an increased rate of translation. After completing my Ph.D. I pursued a short post-doctoral position expanding on my Ph.D. work, delineating the precise molecular mechanism that drove this shift in transcription initiation. Additionally, I worked on understanding the role of Sphingomyelin synthase 1 in drug-resistance and hematopoietic differentiation.

Other than science, I enjoy watching documentaries (performative and true crime), reading non-fiction, cooking and baking.