I’m a biologist using computational and experimental approaches to study genome evolution. I am particularly interested in the impact of selfish DNA on mammalian evolution and disease. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Dr. Cedric Feschotte and Dr. Nels Elde at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
May 2017: I’m delighted to announce I will be joining the Biofrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder as an Assistant Professor in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology! The Chuong lab, opening in 2018, will investigate the evolution of gene regulation and the role of transposable elements in human biology and disease. Please contact me if you’re interested in joining the team!
November 2016: Transposable elements are genomic parasites that are masters of hijacking the cell to promote their own replication. At the same time, they provide a rich stock of “pre-made” regulatory elements ripe for evolutionary co-option by the host. A number of recent studies provide evidence that transposable elements have contributed to the evolution of plants, insects, and mammals. Read more in our review, just published in Nature Reviews Genetics.
March 2016: Vertebrate genomes are littered with remnants of ancient retroviruses. Our study, just published in Science, reveals that some of these viral elements have been domesticated to help activate the innate immune response against modern-day viruses. As Sun Tzu stated in The Art of War, “The opportunity for defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” It seems host-virus evolutionary battles are no exception.