A computational biologist who studies the factors affecting gene expression is joining the faculty of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, based at the UConn Health Center in Farmington.

Duygu Ucar is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. She is the seventh principal investigator hired by The Jackson Laboratory’s Connecticut institute.

Genes in the human body are programmed for specific functions, such as producing protein. But how they’re expressed — how much protein they make, or whether they’re turned on or off — varies, based on many factors. Some changes in gene expression can be passed on to future generations.

Ucar develops algorithms to mine databases to find factors that regulate gene expression, according to Jackson.

Ucar was born in Turkey and received her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University.

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Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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