Dr. Ogbonnaya graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in biomedical engineering. She completed her medical education at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and continued there for internship and residency in combined internal medicine and pediatrics.
Super-enhancers (SEs) are distinct features of the chromatin landscape where multiple enhancers, transcription factors (TFs), RNA polymerase II, and transcriptional co-activators conjugate to regulate the expression of specific genes. Genes located in SEs have are strongly linked to cell identity. In T-Cells, SE genes encode cytokines, cytokine receptors and TFs, which are vital for normal T-Cell development and function. We have identified SEs in natural killer (NK) cells by doing ChIP-sequencing for p300 (a transcriptional co-activator) and found that similar to T cells, genes within SEs of NK cells encode for cytokines, cytokine receptors, effector molecules, and TFs. We also identified a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) within the second-highest ranking SE with no known biological relevance to NK cells. Further studies are underway to determine if this lncRNA regulates NK cell frequency, proliferation, and response to cytokines and infection.