Robert A. McKnight, PhD, MS

Languages

  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Pediatrics - Research Assistant Professor
  • Divisions: Neonatology

Academic Office Information

  • Williams Building
    Pediatric Administration
    295 Chipeta Way, Room: 2S010
    Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Academic Bio

Robert A McKnight, PhD. My current research focuses on the affects of antenatal betamethasone and mechanical ventilation on expression of genes critical to lung and brain development and function. We use the high throughput sequencing method ATAC-seq to identify changes in assess to DNA regulatory sites. RNA-seq is then used to determine whether a change in DNA access altered transcription. Our results show that mechanical ventilation is far more disruptive to creating gene-specific DNA access than noninvasive ventilation. We use the same high throughput methods to study the effects of antenatal betamethasone on preterm lamb brain and lung gene expression. The overall goal of our betamethasone studies is to optimize the dose of betamethasone to use based on maternal BMI and fetal gestation age.

Research Statement

Dr. McKnight's current research interest focuses on the effects of DNA methylation induced by prenatal stress. In vivo animal models of uteroplacental insufficiency as well as in vitro cell culture systems are used to test the effects of DNA methylation on gene expression. In particular the IGF-1 and eEF2K genes are used to evaluate the effects of in utero -induced DNA methylation on gene accessibility including promoter sequences and developmentally regulated enhancers.

Education History

Type School Degree
Fellowship National Institute of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellowship National Institute of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training University of California - Davis
Genetics
Ph.D.
Graduate Training University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Microbiology
M.S.
Undergraduate Iowa State University
Biology
B.S.