Dr. Shiran Bar received her PhD from Hebrew University’s Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research, where she explored human pluripotent stem cells (those capable of giving rise to several different cell types) to study parental imprinting and X-chromosome inactivation.
For her postdoctoral research at Stanford, Dr. Bar explores stress-induced regulation of transposable elements (TEs) in early human development. She conducts her research within the Chemical and Systems Biology, and the Developmental Biology departments, as well as at the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.
Transposable elements occupy nearly half of the human genome and are recognized as major contributors to the evolution of various species. TEs which are active during embryonic development might have unique contributions upon exposure to stress, which have yet to be studied. By investigating the relationship between stress and epigenetic regulation of TEs, Dr. Bar is hoping to answer the critical question of how environmental conditions can induce specific chromatin alterations, leading to changes in gene expression and cell function. To do this, she models prenatal stress in humans and investigates how TEs are involved in the process.
Dr. Bar lived in Nigeria for several years, working as an IT and systems manager, as well as organizing the annual ceremony for the Israeli community’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.