Emma Tung Corcoran: The Plant Cell First Author

Emma Tung Corcoran, first author of “Systematic histone H4 replacement in Arabidopsis thaliana reveals a role for H4R17 in regulating flowering time”

Current Position: Seeking industry positions

Education: Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Yale University, Sc.B. in Biology from Brown University

Non-scientific Interests: Baking, art, music

Brief bio: As an undergraduate at Brown University, I completed my thesis project in the lab of Dr. Alison DeLong studying an ethylene hypersensitive Arabidopsis thaliana mutant. This experience provided a strong foundation in plant molecular biology research that was vital for my graduate work. I then conducted my Ph.D. in Dr. Yannick Jacob’s lab at Yale University from 2016 to 2022, where my research focused on elucidating the epigenetic mechanisms regulating genome stability. For this work, I generated a large library of histone H4 mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana and screened these mutants for molecular and developmental phenotypes. This work, which resulted in our recent Plant Cell publication, provided several key results. First, we found that the mutation of H4R17 leads to early flowering due to a reduced interaction with ISWI chromatin remodeling complexes. More generally, we presented a mutagenesis strategy to replace all endogenous H4 genes and this strategy can be used to investigate other large gene families, such as other histones. Finally, our collection of H4 mutants provides a novel resource for the plant community to functionally assess the role of histone H4 in various processes.