In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Camila dos Santos from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories to talk about her work on enhancers and chromatin remodeling in mammary gland development.

The lab of Camila dos Santos focuses on epigenetic regulation of normal and malignant mammary gland development. After puberty, the next significant phase in mammary gland development occurs in pregnancy, including changes in cellular function, and tissue reorganization. A different and as significant change in mammary glands occurs in the development breast cancer.

Camila dos Santos and her lab were recently able to show that the reaction of mammary glands to a second pregnancy is different than to a first one, which is accompanied by changes in the DNA methylome of the cells. Furthermore, the lab studies the connection of pregnancy-induced epigenetic changes of chromatin and the risk of cancer development.



  • dos Santos, C. O., Rebbeck, C., Rozhkova, E., Valentine, A., Samuels, A., Kadiri, L. R., Osten, P., Harris, E. Y., Uren, P. J., Smith, A. D., & Hannon, G. J. (2013). Molecular hierarchy of mammary differentiation yields refined markers of mammary stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(18), 7123–7130.

  • dos Santos, C. O., Dolzhenko, E., Hodges, E., Smith, A. D., & Hannon, G. J. (2015). An Epigenetic Memory of Pregnancy in the Mouse Mammary Gland. Cell Reports, 11(7), 1102–1109.

  • Feigman, M. J., Moss, M. A., Chen, C., Cyrill, S. L., Ciccone, M. F., Trousdell, M. C., Yang, S.-T., Frey, W. D., Wilkinson, J. E., & dos Santos, C. O. (2020). Pregnancy reprograms the epigenome of mammary epithelial cells and blocks the development of premalignant lesions. Nature Communications, 11(1), 2649.


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