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Jennifer Gerton

B.A., Human Biology, Stanford University
Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University

Portrait of Jennifer Gerton

One genome cannot represent all humans. There is amazing genetic variation and diversity in every person.

Research Areas

Genetics and Genomics, Evolutionary Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology

Courses Taught

Genetics; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory



Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Center for Excellence


Hudson Prize


Basil O’Connor Scholar

Board of Directors, Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation

Editorial Board, Journal of Biological Chemistry

Jennifer Gerton, Ph.D., a cellular biologist, joined the Stowers Institute in 2002. Raised near San Francisco, Gerton was inspired to learn virology from the emergence of AIDS in the mid-80s when her mother, a nurse, was troubled by a young patient dying of the disease. Gerton earned her B.A. in human biology and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Stanford University, studying HIV-1 integrase, a protein that enables the virus to insert its genetic material into the host genome. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina and the University of California, San Francisco, investigating how chromosomes are transmitted during cell division in budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The Gerton Lab has conducted research in yeast for over two decades. Early on in her career, she partnered with all three of her graduate and postdoctoral advisors, Pat Brown, Ph.D., of Stanford, Thomas Petes, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, and Joseph DeRisi, Ph.D., at UCSF, to coauthor the first publication using microarrays to map protein binding sites along all sixteen Saccharomyces chromosomes. Yeast continues to be the primary organism for her lab’s research.

Equal in importance to research for Gerton are the relationships she’s formed with students and postdocs who she mentored and are now working at prominent scientific institutions around the world.

Featured Publications

From telomere to telomere: The transcriptional and epigenetic state of human repeat elements

Hoyt SJ, Storer JM, Hartley GA, Grady PGS, Gershman A, de Lima LG, Limouse C, Halabian R, Wojenski L, Rodriguez M, Altemose N, Rhie A, Core LJ, Gerton JL, Makalowski W, Olson D, Rosen J, Smit AFA, Straight AF, Vollger MR, Wheeler TJ, Schatz MC, Eichler EE, Phillippy AM, Timp W, Miga KH, O'Neill RJ. [published ahead of print April 1 2022]. Science. 2022;376:eabk3112.

Complete genomic and epigenetic maps of human centromeres

Altemose N, Logsdon GA, Bzikadze AV, Sidhwani P, Langley SA, Caldas GV, Hoyt SJ, Uralsky L, Ryabov FD, Shew CJ, Sauria MEG, Borchers M, Gershman A, Mikheenko A, Shepelev VA, Dvorkina T, Kunyavskaya O, Vollger MR, Rhie A, McCartney AM, Asri M, Lorig-Roach R, Shafin K, Lucas JK, Aganezov S, Olson D, de Lima LG, Potapova T, Hartley GA, Haukness M, Kerpedjiev P, Gusev F, Tigyi K, Brooks S, Young A, Nurk S, Koren S, Salama SR, Paten B, Rogaev EI, Streets A, Karpen GH, Dernburg AF, Sullivan BA, Straight AF, Wheeler TJ, Gerton JL, Eichler EE, Phillippy AM, Timp W, Dennis MY, O'Neill RJ, Zook JM, Schatz MC, Pevzner PA, Diekhans M, Langley CH, Alexandrov IA, Miga KH. [published ahead of print April 1 2022]. Science. 2022;376:eabl4178.

The complete sequence of a human genome

Nurk S, Koren S, Rhie A, Rautiainen M, Bzikadze AV, Mikheenko A, Vollger MR, Altemose N, Uralsky L, Gershman A, Aganezov S, Hoyt SJ, Diekhans M, Logsdon GA, Alonge M, Antonarakis SE, Borchers M, Bouffard GG, Brooks SY, Caldas GV, Chen NC, Cheng H, Chin CS, Chow W, de Lima LG, Dishuck PC, Durbin R, Dvorkina T, Fiddes IT, Formenti G, Fulton RS, Fungtammasan A, Garrison E, Grady PGS, Graves-Lindsay TA, Hall IM, Hansen NF, Hartley GA, Haukness M, Howe K, Hunkapiller MW, Jain C, Jain M, Jarvis ED, Kerpedjiev P, Kirsche M, Kolmogorov M, Korlach J, Kremitzki M, Li H, Maduro VV, Marschall T, McCartney AM, McDaniel J, Miller DE, Mullikin JC, Myers EW, Olson ND, Paten B, Peluso P, Pevzner PA, Porubsky D, Potapova T, Rogaev EI, Rosenfeld JA, Salzberg SL, Schneider VA, Sedlazeck FJ, Shafin K, Shew CJ, Shumate A, Sims Y, Smit AFA, Soto DC, Sovic I, Storer JM, Streets A, Sullivan BA, Thibaud-Nissen F, Torrance J, Wagner J, Walenz BP, Wenger A, Wood JMD, Xiao C, Yan SM, Young AC, Zarate S, Surti U, McCoy RC, Dennis MY, Alexandrov IA, Gerton JL, O'Neill RJ, Timp W, Zook JM, Schatz MC, Eichler EE, Miga KH, Phillippy AM. Science. 2022;376:44-53.

Telomere-to-telomere assembly of a complete human X chromosome

Miga KH, Koren S, Rhie A, Vollger MR, Gershman A, Bzikadze A, Brooks S, Howe E, Porubsky D, Logsdon GA, Schneider VA, Potapova T, Wood J, Chow W, Armstrong J, Fredrickson J, Pak E, Tigyi K, Kremitzki M, Markovic C, Maduro V, Dutra A, Bouffard GG, Chang AM, Hansen NF, Wilfert AB, Thibaud-Nissen F, Schmitt AD, Belton JM, Selvaraj S, Dennis MY, Soto DC, Sahasrabudhe R, Kaya G, Quick J, Loman NJ, Holmes N, Loose M, Surti U, Risques RA, Graves Lindsay TA, Fulton R, Hall I, Paten B, Howe K, Timp W, Young A, Mullikin JC, Pevzner PA, Gerton JL, Sullivan BA, Eichler EE, Phillippy AM. Nature. 2020;585:79-84.

Persistent DNA damage and senescense in the placenta impacts developmental outcomes of embryos

Singh VP, McKinney S, Gerton JL. Dev Cell. 2020;54:333-347 e337.

Super-resolution Microscopy-based Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation to Study Protein Complex Assembly and Co-localization

Chen J, Yu Z, Unruh JR, Slaughter BD, Jaspersen SL. Bio-Protocol. 2020;10:e3524. doi: 3510.21769/BioProtoc.23524.

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