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).
The non-human living inside of you
January 9, 2020
A large part of human DNA doesn’t aid the normal workings of the body. This “junk DNA” contains ancient viruses that may spur diseases like ALS.
Seeking better treatment for ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease
October 29, 2019
Researchers found that ‘jumping genes’ were de-silenced in post-mortem tissue samples of ALS patients.
Public Lecture: Seeing With Sequencing
August 8, 2019
Seeing with sequencing—A public lecture with three CSHL experts
April 19, 2019
Quantitative biologists discuss how physics, modern computing power, and a new perspective on biology can make sense of our complex genomes.
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.