Monique Chavez

Program: Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Current advisor: Matthew J. Walter, MD

Undergraduate university: University of California – Davis

Research summary
Over the past year, I have begun to study the development of secondary B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) in patients who had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM) and were treated with lenalidomide. Lenalidomide is an immunomodulatory drug that is used for both induction and maintenance therapy of MM. My mentor, Dr. Lukas Wartman, has identified a cohort of MM patients who were treated with lenalidomide and subsequently developed B-ALL. With the help of the Griffith labs we have identified genes interest and I am looking at their possible role in B-cell leukemogenesis. I have utilized CRISPR to interrogate these genes in vitro using a leukemic cell line and in vivo utilizing a mouse model. I have used growth assays or flow cytometry to characterize phenotypes in the in vitro and in vivo model, respectively. We have only begun by looking at the most common mutated gene identified in our patient cohort, but my work will expand to include other less common genes identified.

Graduate publications
Kim SP, Srivatsan SN, Chavez M, Shirai CL, White BS, Ahmed T, Alberti MO, Shao J, Nunley R, White LS, Bednarski J, Pehrson JR, Walter MJ. 2021 Mutant U2AF1-induced alternative splicing of H2afy (macroH2A1) regulates B-lymphopoiesis in mice. Cell Rep, 36(9):109626.

Tian L, Chavez M, Chang GS, Helton NM, Katerndahl CDS, Miller CA, Wartman LD. 2021 Kdm6a deficiency restricted to mouse hematopoietic cells causes an age- and sex-dependent myelodysplastic syndrome-like phenotype. PLoS ONE, 16(11):e0255706.