Christopher Hammell

Christopher Hammell

Associate Professor
Cancer Center Member

Ph.D., Dartmouth Medical School, 2002

chammell@cshl.edu | 516-367-5207

Faculty Profile

As organisms develop, genes turn on and off with a precise order and timing, much like the order and duration of notes in a song. My group uses model organisms to understand the molecules that control the tempo of development. We also study how changes in the timing of gene expression contribute to diseases like cancer.

Christopher Hammell’s lab is interested in understanding gene regulatory processes that give rise to robust phenotypes associated with normal development in animals (specifically, how the timing of developmental processes is controlled) as well as the alterations in these pathways that give rise to diseases such as cancer (as in the alterations in mitogenic pathways in melanoma). Hammell and colleagues approach this elemental problem by using a variety of model organisms and patient-derived cancer cell lines. To directly identify the components that function in controlling normal developmental timing, they use the small nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, applying forward and reverse genetic approaches. In contrast to the extreme robustness of cell-fate lineage in C. elegans, in which specification of developmental programs is hard-wired, mutations that alter conserved signaling pathways in melanoma create relatively plastic developmental landscapes that allow these lesions to become aggressive tumors. Notably, the gene regulatory architecture of melanoma cells allows them to acquire resistance to therapeutic agents. Hammell’s team is interested in epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to resistance, specifically dramatic changes in gene expression patterns and intracellular signaling pathways. They are performing high-throughput screens to identify cellular factors that allow these re-wiring events to occur, with the idea that these components would make ideal therapeutic targets to complement existing clinical strategies.

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All Publications

PQN-59 antagonizes microRNA-mediated repression during post-embryonic temporal patterning and modulates translation and stress granule formation in C. elegans

Nov 2021 | PLoS Genetics | 17(11):e1009599
Carlston, Colleen, Weinmann, Robin, Stec, Natalia, Abbatemarco, Simona, Schwager, Francoise, Wang, Jing, Ouyang, Huiwu, Ewald, Collin, Gotta, Monica, Hammell, Christopher

PQN-59 and GTBP-1 contribute to stress granule formation but are not essential for their assembly in C. elegans embryos

18 Oct 2021 | Journal of Cell Science
Abbatemarco, Simona, Bondaz, Alexandra, Schwager, Francoise, Wang, Jing, Hammell, Christopher, Gotta, Monica

An engineered, orthogonal auxin analog/AtTIR1(F79G) pairing improves both specificity and efficacy of the auxin degradation system in Caenorhabditis elegans

12 Oct 2021 | Genetics: a periodical record of investigations bearing on heredity and variation
Hills-Muckey, Kelly, Martinez, Michael, Stec, Natalia, Hebbar, Shilpa, Saldanha, Joanne, Medwig-Kinney, Taylor, Moore, Frances, Ivanova, Maria, Morao, Ana, Ward, J, Moss, Eric, Ercan, Sevinc, Zinovyeva, Anna, Matus, David, Hammell, Christopher

The UBAP2L ortholog PQN-59 contributes to stress granule assembly and development in C. elegans

16 Apr 2021 | bioRxiv
Abbatemarco, Simona, Bondaz, Alexandra, Schwager, Francoise, Wang, Jing, Hammell, Christopher, Gotta, Monica

An Epigenetic Priming Mechanism Mediated by Nutrient Sensing Regulates Transcriptional Output during C. elegans Development

17 Dec 2020 | Current Biology
Stec, N, Doerfel, K, Hills-Muckey, K, Ettorre, V, Ercan, S, Keil, W, Hammell, C

An Epigenetic Priming Mechanism Mediated by Nutrient Sensing Regulates Transcriptional Output

3 Sep 2020 | bioRxiv
Stec, Natalia, Doerfel, Katja, Hills-Muckey, Kelly, Ettorre, Victoria, Ercan, Sevinc, Keil, Wolfgang, Hammell, C

A Caenorhabditis elegans Model for Integrating the Functions of Neuropsychiatric Risk Genes Identifies Components Required for Normal Dendritic Morphology

4 May 2020 | G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics | 10(5):1617-1628
Aguirre-Chen, C, Stec, N, Ramos, O, Kim, N, Kramer, M, McCarthy, S, Gillis, J, McCombie, W, Hammell, C

Rapid Degradation of Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins at Single-Cell Resolution with a Synthetic Auxin

7 Jan 2020 | G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics | 10(1):267-280
Martinez, M, Kinney, B, Medwig-Kinney, T, Ashley, G, Ragle, J, Johnson, L, Aguilera, J, Hammell, C, Ward, J, Matus, D

Rapid degradation of C. elegans proteins at single-cell resolution with a synthetic auxin

27 Jul 2019 | bioRxiv
Martinez, Michael, Kinney, Brian, Medwig-Kinney, Taylor, Ashley, Guinevere, Ragle, James, Johnson, Londen, Aguilera, Joseph, Hammell, Christopher, Ward, Jordan, Matus, David

Inducing RNAi in Caenorhabditis elegans by Injection of dsRNA.

4 Jan 2016 | Cold Spring Harbor protocols | 2016(1):pdb.prot086306
Hammell, Christopher, Hannon, Gregory

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