Natalia Acevedo Luna, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Muscle Stem Cells and Gene Regulation at the NIAMS (NIH). She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, where she worked on the identification of cis-regulatory elements in the beta-globin locus of different species. During her pre-doctoral research appointment at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at NIH, Dr. Acevedo Luna worked on the genome-wide, in-silico identification of co-occurring transcription factor binding sites in cis-regulatory modules. Since then, she became particularly interested in applying computational and statistical approaches to predict transcription factor binding sites in promoter regions and the subsequent design and execution of experimental validation.

She received her Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Iowa State University in August 2019. During her doctoral studies, she focused on the identification of candidate genes and potential gene regulatory networks involved in ciliogenesis in Platynereis dumerilli, a marine annelid. In the context of this non-conventional animal model and to circumvent the lack of an annotated genome, Dr. Acevedo Luna designed and implemented a web-interface database to access the de-novo assembled transcriptome and an online tool for RNA-seq data visualization integrating advanced components of statistical analysis that facilitate the annotation of novel transcripts.

In her postdoctoral training, Dr. Acevedo Luna is transitioning into a mammalian system allowing her to address additional questions regarding gene expression. More specifically, she is interested in understanding the role of non-coding RNAs in modulating chromatin 3D conformation and in the transcriptional activity of target genes in distal loci during skeletal muscle specification and development.

Research Statement

Dr. Acevedo Luna's research focuses on the regulatory mechanisms of gene expression. She is particularly interested in understanding the role of non-coding RNAs in modulating chromatin 3D organization and the transcriptional activity of target genes during specification, differentiation, and regeneration of skeletal muscle cells.

Her research includes the design and implementation of data visualization tools that facilitate the analysis and accessibility of big datasets in this scope. Her ultimate goal is to hybridize in-silico with in-vitro approaches in order to predict and validate specific questions in regard to non-coding RNAs, epigenetics, and chromatin conformation changes contributing to regulation of gene expression during cell differentiation.

Scientific Publications

PdumBase: a transcriptome database and research tool for Platynereis dumerilii and early development of other metazoans.

Chou HC, Acevedo-Luna N, Kuhlman JA, Schneider SQ
BMC Genomics.
2018 Aug 16;
doi: 10.1186/s12864-018-4987-0
PMID: 30115014

Most of the tight positional conservation of transcription factor binding sites near the transcription start site reflects their co-localization within regulatory modules.

Acevedo-Luna N, Mariño-Ramírez L, Halbert A, Hansen U, Landsman D, Spouge JL
BMC Bioinformatics.
2016 Nov 21;


Iowa State University
Ph.D. Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (2019)

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia)
B.S. Biology (2007) 



Postdoctoral Fellowship
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases, Laboratory of Muscle Stem Cells and Gene Regulation. NIH.
Bethesda, MD (October 2019 - present)

Graduate Research Assistant
Iowa State University, Statistics Department. Ames, IA (2016 - 2019)

Graduate Research Internship
The European Molecular Laboratory (EMBL), Developmental Biology Branch. Heidelberg, Germany (2016) 

Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant
Iowa State University, Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology Department. Ames, IA (2014 -2016) 

ORISE Research Fellow
National Center for Biotechnology Information, Computational Biology Branch. NIH. Bethesda, MD (2011 - 2013)

Last Updated: February 2021