To ensure that cells function normally, tens of thousands of genes must be turned on or off together. To do this, regulatory molecules - transcription factors and non-coding RNAs – simultaneously control hundreds of genes. My group studies how the resulting gene networks function and how they can be compromised in human disease.
Human development requires the regulated activity of thousands of genes in hundreds of distinct cell types throughout life. One requirement for this process is that each cell must contain an intact, functional genome free from mutations. One type of mutation can arise from the activation of transposable elements (TEs). These viral-like parasites lay dormant within our genomes, but have the capacity to hop into new genomic locations, causing mutations as they break the surrounding DNA sequence. Mounting evidence has implicated transposon activity in a host of human diseases, with particular evidence for TE activation in neurodegenerative diseases: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fronto-temporal dimensia (FTD).
Molly Hammell wins CZI award for ALS study
December 5, 2018
Associate Professor Molly Hammell wins award for proposed study to find transposable elements that are implicated in ALS.
Redefining biologists, redefining genes
May 16, 2017
Drs. Molly Hammell and Thomas Gingeras talk about redefining what a biologist is and what genes are.
Research suggests a possible role for a storm of ‘jumping genes’ in ALS
March 27, 2017
New research demonstrates that some transposons are no longer effectively inhibited, resulting in a storm of jumping genes, leading to DNA damage.
Dark matter of the genome, part 1
March 15, 2017
This episode of Base Pairs digs into "dark matter" a type of genetic information that could help scientists better understand diseases like
Riding out of the shadows of ALS, toward better treatments
August 1, 2016
Graduate student Lisa Krug discusses her research and personal connection to ALS, and Ride for Life, a not-for-profit organization for ALS research.
ALS Ride for Life comes to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
May 23, 2016
CSHL gathered to welcome Chris Pendergast and his ALS Ride for Life team to campus on Monday, May 16.
Ride For Life gives $300,000 for ALS research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL)
October 20, 2015
ALS Ride For Life this month presented $300,000 to CSHL Assistant Professor Molly Hammell and Associate Professor Josh Dubnau
CSHL’s Dr. Molly Hammell named 2014 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar
July 1, 2014
Dr. Hammell wins an award for young investigators for innovative biomedical research
Storm of ‘awakened’ transposons may cause brain-cell pathologies in ALS, other illnesses
September 4, 2012
A team of neuroscientists and informatics experts at CSHL reports important progress today in an effort to understand the relationship between transpo
Krug, L. and Chatterjee, N. and Borges-Monroy, R. and Hearn, S. and Liao, W. W. and Morrill, K. and Prazak, L. and Rozhkov, N. and Theodorou, D. and Hammell, M. and Dubnau, J. (2017) Retrotransposon activation contributes to neurodegeneration in a Drosophila TDP-43 model of ALS. PLoS Genet, 13(3) pp. e1006635.
Jin, Y. and Tam, O. H. and Paniagua, E. and Hammell, M. (2015) TEtranscripts: A package for including transposable elements in differential expression analysis of RNA-seq datasets. Bioinformatics, 31(22) pp. 3593-3599.
Rozhkov, N. V. and Hammell, M. and Hannon, G. J. (2013) Multiple roles for Piwi in silencing Drosophila transposons. Genes and Development, 27(4) pp. 400-412.
Li, W. H. and Jin, Y. and Prazak, L. and Hammell, M. and Dubnau, J. (2012) Transposable Elements in TDP-43-Mediated Neurodegenerative Disorders. PLoS ONE, 7(9)
Hammell, M. (2010) Computational methods to identify miRNA targets. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 21(7) pp. 738-44.Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository