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Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D.

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Research Labs

Faculty Appointments



The Murphy lab investigates the mechanisms that activate or silence genes as cells transition from one state to another. In very early embryos, stem cells begin to divide and change. Through this process, called differentiation, tissues start to form, and all the cell types of the organism begin to arise. Differentiation relies on a highly coordinated series of gene activation and silencing events. As cells divide during differentiation, changes in gene expression provide each cell type with a specific identity and function. In a similar sense, when the gene expression patterns of normal adult cells change inappropriately, the cell identity also changes, and this can lead to carcinogenesis. Presently, it is unknown what molecular machinery allows a cell to transition from one gene expression state to another.


Journal Articles

Hickey GJ, Wike CL, Nie X, Guo Y, Tan M, Murphy PJ, Cairns BR. "Establishment of developmental gene silencing by ordered polycomb complex recruitment in early zebrafish embryos." eLife.. 2022 Jan 4; 11Epub 2022 Jan 04.

Ruff GL, Murphy KE, Smith ZR, Vertino PM, Murphy PJ. "Subtype-Independent ANP32E Reduction During Breast Cancer Progression in Accordance with Chromatin Relaxation." BMC cancer.. 2021 Dec 18; 21(1):1342. Epub 2021 Dec 18.

Akdogan-Ozdilek B, Duval KL, Meng FW, Murphy PJ, Goll MG. "Identification of chromatin states during zebrafish gastrulation using CUT&RUN and CUT&Tag." Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists.. 2021 Oct 14; Epub 2021 Oct 14.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Epigenetic Changes in the Paternal Germline
Book Title: Transgenerational Epigenetics : Evidence and Debate
Author List: Murphy KE, Murphy PJ, and Carrell DT
Edited By: T. Tollefsbol
Published By: Oxford: Academic Press 2014