Meet The Gregg Lab Team

Dr. Christopher Gregg, PhD.

Principal Investigator

I completed my PhD in Canada with Dr. Samuel Weiss (University of Calgary) in the field of neural stem cells.  In 2004, I participated in the founding of a biotechnology company called Stem Cell Therapeutics, which is developing treatments for Stroke & Multiple Sclerosis.  I subsequently trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard with Dr. Catherine Dulac and began to use next generation sequencing technology to explore differences in gene expression from maternally versus paternally inherited chromosomes in the mouse brain.  As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at the University of Utah, I am interested in discovering epigenetic and genetic mechanisms that shape complex behavior patterns and disease risks.  My passions are ideas and discovery. I love working with and mentoring creative people!

Susan Steinwand

Lab Manager and Behavior Technician

Susan graduated with a degree in animal sciences with focus on animal behavior at UC Davis. She has over two years of experience in lab animal care.

Susan helps to manage the lab, mouse colony and behavior facility. She is developing and optimizing new and established methods to screen mouse models for behavioral phenotypes.

Elliott Ferris

Bioinformatics and Genome Data Analyst
Elliott carried out his graduate studies in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. He has programming expertise in Python, R and Java. Elliott is developing new software and methods for bioinformatics and big data studies of gene expression and epigenetic mechanisms. He is a leader in the application of comparative genomic approaches in different species to uncover novel regulatory mechanisms for shaping clinically important phenotypes. (see Ferris et al. 2018 Cell Reports)

Paul Bonthuis, PhD.

Noncanonical genomic imprinting in the brain

Dr. Paul Bonthuis brings extensive experience in molecular biology, mouse genetics and animal behavior to the lab.  He worked as a research technologist in the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington for 4 years and then in the Bacterial Pathogens Research Group at the Seattle biomedical Research Institute.  Dr. Bonthuis then carried out his PhD. studies with Dr. Emilie Rissman at the University of Virginia.  His work focused on the roles of X-linked genes in regulating sexually dimorphic social behaviors.

In 2015, the Gregg lab identified novel noncanonical genomic imprinting effects in the brain that cause preferential silencing of either the maternally or paternally inherited allele for some genes. Paul is testing the hypothesis that noncanonical imprinting is a highly cell-type specific form of heritable epigenetic gene regulation through which mothers and fathers influence offspring brain function and behavior. His work involves novel CRISPR-Cas9 mediated genome engineering methods, imaging, deep behavioral screening, mouse genetics and bioinformatics. (See Bonthuis et al. Cell Reports 2015)

Wei-Chao Huang, PhD.

Discovery of Novel Epigenetic Allelic Effects in the Mouse, Primate and Human
Wei-Chao completed a Master’s degree In Taiwan focused on the study of stem cells.  He brings strong molecular and cell culture expertise to the lab.  As a graduate student in the Gregg lab, Wei-Chao, along with Elliott Ferris, described novel allele-specific epigenetic effects that shape gene expression in an age and cell dependent manner (See Huang and Ferris et al. Neuron 2017).

As a postdoc, Wei-Chao is working to understand how these allelic effects shape phenotypes and disease risks. He is involved in a spin off startup company to translate his work into the clinic.

Kathleen Bennett

Novel Epigenetic Mechanisms Shaping Brain Development
Graduate Student
Kathleen is passionate about all aspects of science and science communication…and dancing!  She joined the Gregg lab as a graduate student entering through the Molecular Biology program at the University of Utah. Katie is studying how allele-specific epigenetic effects shape gene expression programs at the cellular level during brain development. She is testing exciting new hypotheses for the function of allele-specific epigenetic effects in the developing brain that could change our understanding the factors shaping the risk for mental illnesses. Her project involves new CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering technologies, genomics methods and cell culture models. Katie worked as technician at Caltech before starting graduate studies at Utah. She is also a science fellow at the Utah Natural History Museum working to communicate science to the public.

Stephanie Kravitz

Epigenetic Allelic Effects Shaping Genetic Architecture in Humans
Graduate Student (joint with Aaron Quinlan’s lab in Human Genetics)
Stephanie is an adventurous person who joined the Gregg lab and Quinlan lab in a joint effort to unearth the nature and importance of allele-specific epigenetic effects in humans. This is a very exciting project with potential applications for personalized medicine. Stephanie is a graduate student in the molecular biology program at the University of Utah and previously work in Dan Geschwind’s lab at UCLA. Her project involves statistical modeling of hundreds of human genomics datasets and software development. In addition, she is engaged in single cell genomics experiments, histology, imaging and other wet lab approaches.
Outstanding Alumni

Coni Horndli

Development Of Methods For Computational Ethology In Mouse
Models, Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-2017)

Dr. Coni Horndli completed her Master’s Thesis at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, in the Department of Zoology. She focused her studies on understanding the role of cadherins in the spinal cord. Coni then completed her PhD in Professor Chi-Bin Chien’s laboratory at the University of Utah School of Medicine and studied the role of Sonic Hedgehog signaling in the regulation of axon pathfinding in the retinal system of zebrafish.

As a postdoc in the Gregg lab, Coni developed novel behavioral paradigms and computational methods for a new field of behavior analysis called “computational ethology”. She successfully developed new ways to screen and analyze behavior using computational approaches that analyze hundreds of behavioral features in mouse models. Her methods have been adopted in the lab and by collaborators at other institutes. Coni is an expert in data analysis and presentation.

Tong (tina) Cheng

Lab manager and Technician (2011-2017)

Tina worked as the Gregg lab manager and technician for several years. She optimized methods for histological studies of allele-specific gene expression at the cellular level, and developed various in vitro and molecular assays. Tina translated discoveries in the lab to a startup spin off company.

Nikole Rhodes

Computational Ethology to Study MOUSE MODELS OF HUMAN NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS
Undergraduate Student (2014-2016)
Nikole worked with Coni to study behavioral phenotypes in mouse models of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders and testing the effects of therapeutic agents.

The Gregg Lab welcomes strong candidates to apply to the lab as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows or professional scientists.

Individuals with experience/interest in genomics, neuroscience, bioinformatics & programming, molecular biology, animal behavior or mouse genetics are especially encouraged to apply