Shelby Blythe Assistant Professor

My research focuses on understanding how information encoded in DNA is utilized to direct the process of embryonic development, using as a model system the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Genomic DNA is stored in the nucleus not as a naked polymer, but rather as a complex nucleoprotein complex referred to as chromatin. Chromatin structure subdivides functional domains within the genome, relegating DNA sequences to either 'active' or 'inactive' compartments. My research combines classical embryology, genetics, genomics, and quantitative imaging to focus on three main questions. 1) How does chromatin structure evolve over the course of embryonic development as cells acquire unique fates and distinct patterns of active and inactive compartments? 2) What are the mechanisms and regulatory strategies used by the embryo to drive these changes in chromatin structure? 3) Can we develop optical tools to both observe and manipulate chromatin states in real time?

Selected Publications:

Localization of the Drosophila pioneer factor GAF to subnuclear foci is driven by DNA binding and required to silence satellite repeat expression. Gaskill, M. Soluri, I., Branks, A., Boka, A., Stadler, M., Vietor, K., Hao-Yu, S., Gibson, T., Mir, M., Blythe, S. A., Harrison, M. Dev Cell 2023; Sep 11;58(17):1610-1624.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2023.06.010. 

Quantitative dissection of transcription in development yields evidence for transcription factor-driven chromatin accessibility. Eck, E., Liu, J., Kazemzadeh-Atoufi, M., Ghoreishi, S., Blythe, S. A., Garcia, H. G. eLife 2020; 9:e56429. PMID: 33074101 PMCID: PMC7738189 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.56429.

Zygotic pioneer activity of Odd-paired/Zic is necessary for late function of the Drosophila segmentation network. Soluri, I. V., Zumerling, L. M., Payan Parra, O. A., Clark, E. G., Blythe, S. A. eLife 2020; 9:e53916. PMID: 32347792 PMCID: PMC7190358 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.53916.

Rapid Dynamics of Signal-Dependent Transcriptional Repression by Capicua. Keenan SE, Blythe SA, Marmion RA, Djabrayan NJ, Wieschaus EF, Shvartsman SY. Dev Cell. 2020;52(6):794-801.e4. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2020.02.004.

Establishment and maintenance of heritable chromatin structure during early Drosophila embryogenesis. Blythe, S. A. and Wieschaus, E. F. eLife 2016; 10.7554/eLife.20148. PMID: 27879204 PMCID: PMC5156528 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.20148.

Concentration-dependent chromatin states induced by the Bicoid morphogen gradient. Hannon, C. E., Blythe, S. A., and Wieschaus, E. F. eLife 201710.7554/eLife.28275. PMID: 28891464 PMCID: PMC5624782 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.28275.

Selected Honors:

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, 2020