In June of 2011, Cathy started her graduate study under supervision of Dr. Jonghwan Kim and Dr. Haley Tucker in the Cell and Molecular Biology program at the University of Texas at Austin with the thesis titled as ‘Transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms of the first cell fate decision and reprogramming’. Her studies unveiled that Arid3a functions as a pivotal regulator of trophectoderm and placenta development by regulating the commitment to the first cell fate, as well as by executing trophectoderm lineage differentiation. She advanced the understanding of the mechanisms underlying transcription factor-mediated reprogramming of embryonic stem to trophoblast stem-like cells, in particular Arid3a-mediated transcriptional and epigenetic regulation.
Since Cathy enjoys tackling difficult problems and is interested in blood cell development, she decided to broaden her academic and stem cell experience in hematopoiesis. She joined Dr. David Scadden’s laboratory in 2017 and is currently working on a project to examine epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell heterogeneity in multiple contexts.