Samantha Pattenden

Samantha Pattenden, PhD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and is located in the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery. The Pattenden lab is uniquely positioned to work with investigators to adapt state-of-the-art chromatin-based technology for high throughput screening and to develop new ways to interrogate chromatin biology for therapeutic discovery and cancer diagnostics.

PhD
Research Associate Professor; Director of Applied Epigenetic Screening Technologies, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery; Research Assistant Professor, Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, Eshelman School of Pharmacy
UNC-Chapel Hill
Molecular Therapeutics

Area of interest

The Pattenden lab develops innovative techniques in chromatin-based therapeutic target discovery and cancer diagnostics. Our research program enables discovery of novel molecular targets, pathways and mechanisms. As appreciation of the importance of chromatin dysregulation in cancers has grown, chromatin regulatory proteins have emerged as promising targets for therapeutic discovery. By focusing on this protein class, we capitalize on the dynamic properties of chromatin, in contrast to irreversible genetic mutations. Currently, however, there are very few in vivo chromatin-based assays that are suitable for high throughput screening campaigns. We and others have demonstrated that characteristic chromatin accessibility patterns in tumors can change following treatment with small molecule inhibitors. Consequently, chromatin accessibility is a potential strategy to screen for chemical inhibitors, to assess pharmacodynamics, and to establish biomarkers for preclinical and clinical trials. In collaboration with Dr. Ian Davis (UNC, Genetics), we have developed a novel high throughput screen for small molecule inhibitors of aberrant chromatin accessibility in cancer. This approach enables discovery of compounds that affect an underlying chromatin defect without a priori target selection, which avoids the pitfalls associated with in vitro single candidate protein screens that exclude unknown or unappreciated molecular targets, activities and molecular dependencies. To assess the diagnostic potential of chromatin accessibility patterns in tumor cells, we have invented a method for extraction of chromatin from formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue, which incorporates a patented cavitation enhancement reagent from Dr. Paul Dayton (UNC, Biomedical Engineering).

Awards and Honors

  • 2016, IBM Junior Faculty Development Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2004-2006, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • 2004 Professional Development Award, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
  • 2003 Vision Science Research Program Fellowship, Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund, University of Toronto
  • 2002 Vision Science Research Program Fellowship, Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund, University of Toronto
  • 2001 Frank Fletcher Memorial Fund, Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund Fellowship, University of Toronto
  • 2000-2003, KM Hunter/MRC Doctoral Research Fellowship, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • 2000 KM Hunter/MRC Doctoral Research Fellowship, Canadian Institutes for Health Research
  • 2000 Frank Fletcher Memorial Fund, Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund Fellowship, University of Toronto
  • 1999 University of Toronto Open Fellowship, University of Toronto
  • 1999 Frank Fletcher Memorial Fund, Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund Fellowship, University of Toronto
  • 1998 University of Toronto Open Fellowship, University of Toronto

Find publications on PubMed