HRP SU23-29: Research Opportunity with Dr. Stefan Pinter

Project Mentor

Dr. Stefan Pinter
Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description
The Pinter lab studies genetic syndromes that change the expression levels of many genes residing on a single chromosome, for example Down syndrome (DS, trisomy 21) and Turner syndrome (TS, monosomy X). We have established human stem cell (iPSC) lines of these aneuploidies, along with isogenic euploid control lines, to model cellular phenotypes associated with these conditions. To correct the dosage of genes on chromosome X or 21, we use epigenetic (XIST RNA) and CRISPR tools to study their developmental impact, and map cellular phenotypes back to specific mis-expressed genes, for example, in our current preprint:
For the summer of 2023 we have both in-person research opportunities in cellular characterization of iPSC-derived cell types, as well as hybrid research opportunities in bioinformatics analysis of transcriptomic or high-content imaging data. Note: The Health Research Program has certain in-person participation requirements, including a presentation at Summer Research Day, that a student working in a hybrid arrangement would be expected to satisfy.
Project Direction In our TS work, we are particularly interested in genes that escape X chromosome inactivation (XCI) and their role in vascular smooth muscle and trophoblast development, because monosomy X is a leading cause of spontaneous termination (est. 12% of all miscarriages). Our DS work aims at understanding how trisomy 21 impacts neurodevelopment and DS-associated Alzheimer’s disease, which will affect most individuals with DS due to early onset. We anticipate that learning how cellular phenotypes relate to each other, as well as which genes could be targeted to prevent neurodegenerative changes in DS, will pave the way towards the development of novel therapeutic approaches.
Mentorship and Supervision We have weekly lab meetings where one of four lab members presents, and I also touch base with each lab member individually every week (twice at minimum). This gives me ample opportunity to monitor progress and connect the student with resources and match them with lab personnel, who can provide hands-on-demonstrations and will mentor the students on a daily basis.
Student Qualifications The ideal student for this research opportunity will be interested in developmental biology and epigenetics, with completed mid-level biology and genetics courses.

1.) For in-person research, we would like an applicant to have cell culture experience. Additional expertise in cellular & molecular biology, like immuno-staining and qRT-PCR are preferred but not required.
2.) For hybrid research, we would like an applicant with prior computational expertise (unix, perl, pyhon, C or R). We’ve also had good success in training students without computational expertise but prior interest in statistics.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 22 to July 28, 2023
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pm
Project Continuation Fall 2023, Spring 2024
Academic Year Time Commitment 9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2023.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, an unofficial transcript, a brief statement of research interests, and a brief statement of career interests. References should be available upon request.