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Jason Gertz, PhD

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments: Oncological Sciences - Associate Professor

Academic Office Information


Research Interests

  • Breast Cancer
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Estrogen Receptors

Jason Gertz, PhD, is an investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah. He is also a member of the Nuclear Control of Cell Growth and Differentiation Program and an Adjunt Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Gertz studies the role of transcription factors in cancer.

The inappropriate expression of genes is a common defect across different types of cancer. Transcription factors, which orchestrate gene expression patterns by interacting with specific loci throughout the genome, play a key role in the growth and development of tumors. Dr. Gertz’s research goal is to understand how transcription factors choose their genomic binding sites, how binding events lead to gene expression changes, and how the actions of transcription factors are altered in cancer. To determine the roles that transcription factors play in gene regulation, his lab uses and develops experimental methods that take advantage of next-generation sequencing to create high-resolution maps of gene regulatory networks. The Gertz lab also utilizes cutting edge computational approaches to take full advantage of these rich genomic datasets. The study of transcription factors in cancer promises to lead to new therapeutic targets and an understanding of key events that occur during tumorigenesis.

Dr. Gertz received a BA in Mathematics with concentrations in Computer Science and Economics from Cornell University in 2003. In 2008, he received a PhD in Computational Biology from Washington University School of Medicine. He was a postdoctoral fellow in Richard M. Myers’ laboratory at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, where he was funded in part by the American Cancer Society. To learn more about the Gertz lab, please visit

Education History

Postdoctoral Fellowship HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Washington University School of Medicine
Computational Biology
Undergraduate Cornell University

Selected Publications

  1. Rodriguez AC, Vahrenkamp JM, Berrett KC, Clark KA, Guillen KP, Scherer SD, Yang CH, Welm BE, Jant-Amsbury MM, Graves BJ, Gertz J (2020). ETV4 Is Necessary for Estrogen Signaling and Growth in Endometrial Cancer Cells. Cancer Res, 80(6), 1234-1245.
  2. Vahrenkamp JM, Szczotka K, Dodson MK, Jarboe EA, Soisson AP, Gertz J (2019). FFPEcap-seq: a method for sequencing capped RNAs in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples. Genome Res, 29(11), 1826-1835.
  3. Ginley-Hidinger M, Carleton JB, Rodriguez AC, Berrett KC, Gertz J (2019). Sufficiency analysis of estrogen responsive enhancers using synthetic activators. Life Sci Alliance, 2(5).
  4. Blanchard Z, Vahrenkamp JM, Berrett KC, Arnesen S, Gertz J (2019). Estrogen-independent molecular actions of mutant estrogen receptor 1 in endometrial cancer. Genome Res, 29(9), 1429-1441.
  5. Rodriguez AC, Blanchard Z, Maurer KA, Gertz J (2019). Estrogen Signaling in Endometrial Cancer: a Key Oncogenic Pathway with Several Open Questions. Horm Cancer, 10(2-3), 51-63.
  6. Vahrenkamp JM, Yang CH, Rodriguez AC, Almomen A, Berrett KC, Trujillo AN, Guillen KP, Welm BE, Jarboe EA, Janat-Amsbury MM, Gertz J (2018). Clinical and Genomic Crosstalk between Glucocorticoid Receptor and Estrogen Receptor α In Endometrial Cancer. Cell Rep, 22(11), 2995-3005.
  7. Carleton JB, Berrett KC, Gertz J (2017). Multiplex Enhancer Interference Reveals Collaborative Control of Gene Regulation by Estrogen Receptor α-Bound Enhancers. Cell Syst, 5(4), 333-344.e5.
  8. DAmato NC, Gordon MA, Babbs B, Spoelstra NS, Carson Butterfield KT, Torkko KC, Phan VT, Barton VN, Rogers TJ, Sartorius CA, Elias A, Gertz J, Jacobsen BM, Richer JK (2016). Cooperative Dynamics of AR and ER Activity in Breast Cancer. Mol Cancer Res, 14(11), 1054-1067.
  9. Savic D, Roberts BS, Carleton JB, Partridge EC, White MA, Cohen BA, Cooper GM, Gertz J, Myers RM (2015). Promoter-distal RNA polymerase II binding discriminates active from inactive CCAAT/ enhancer-binding protein beta binding sites. Genome Res, 25(12), 1791-800.
  10. Gertz J, Savic D, Varley KE, Partridge EC, Safi A, Jain P, Cooper GM, Reddy TE, Crawford GE, Myers RM (2013). Distinct properties of cell-type-specific and shared transcription factor binding sites. Mol Cell, 52(1), 25-36.
  11. Gertz J, Reddy TE, Varley KE, Garabedian MJ, Myers RM (2012). Genistein and bisphenol A exposure cause estrogen receptor 1 to bind thousands of sites in a cell type-specific manner. Genome Res, 22(11), 2153-62.
  12. Katherine E. Varley, Richard M. Myers, Brian S. Roberts, Jason Gertz, Donald J. Buchsbaum, Andres Forero-Torres, Albert F. LoBuglio (2012). Novel Read-Through Fusion Polynucleotides and Polypeptides and Uses Thereof. U.S. Patent No. US20140162296 A1. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  13. Gertz J, Varley KE, Reddy TE, Bowling KM, Pauli F, Parker SL, Kucera KS, Willard HF, Myers RM (2011). Analysis of DNA methylation in a three-generation family reveals widespread genetic influence on epigenetic regulation. PLoS Genet, 7(8), e1002228.
  14. Gertz J, Siggia ED, Cohen BA (2009). Analysis of combinatorial cis-regulation in synthetic and genomic promoters. Nature, 457(7226), 215-8.