Visitor of the Week: Mike Tramantano


Meet Mike Tramantano of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Prior to joining CSHL President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Stillman’s lab in February 2017 as a postdoctoral fellow, Mike earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Stony Brook University (SBU). Since 2012, Mike has participated in six meetings at CSHL plus The Genome Access Course (TGAC) which kicks off later this afternoon.

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
In mammalian cells, stepwise assembly of large multi-protein complexes occurs at specific sites in the genome and is required to initiate DNA replication prior to cell division. My research focuses on understanding the recruitment mechanism that occurs upstream of this assembly and answering the question: How do cells recognize the correct sites in the genome for assembly to begin and what factors are involved in this process?

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
How human cells select sites for DNA replication is not well understood. If we can better understand this selection process, it can have broader implications to diseases where normal cell division is disrupted, such as cancer.

How did your scientific journey begin?
My passion for science began in high school Biology when I was first exposed to the topic of genetics. I was struck by the fact that all the information needed to make a human being was encoded in our DNA.

The Genome Access Course is your first CSHL course – was there something about this course in particular that drew you to register for it?
There is an increasing amount of data and tools publicly accessible to scientists online. TGAC appealed to me because it is an intensive instructional course teaching about these resources and how they can be best utilized in your research.

Your course kicks off later today - what do you hope to get out of the two-day course and how will it help with your work?
I hope to learn the fundamentals of analyzing deep sequencing data and the proper way to present this data. My research is beginning to enter a period where genome wide data and analyses will be necessary in order for me to continue my project.

If you can take part in another course or two, which one(s) would you register for and why?
I would like to register for either the Computational Genomics or Chromatin, Epigenetics and Gene Expression course, as the in-depth training in working with next generation sequencing technologies and chromatin biology present in those courses would be helpful in planning future experiments for my project.

Since you’re well-integrated in campus and have participated in a good number of meetings, what tips or insider-knowledge can you share with those attending their first CSHL meeting or course?
Don’t miss the wine and cheese! It is a Cold Spring Harbor tradition where many great ideas are shared and discussed in a casual atmosphere. I also suggest taking a walk up to Hillside (by the Quick building) to get the best views of the Harbor.

What, in your opinion, are the best features of a CSHL meeting that make it unique and worthwhile to participate in?
What I enjoy most about the meetings at CSHL is that they are relatively casual compared to other conferences at which I have participated. The interaction between visiting scientists always seems very constructive and positive. In addition, established faculty are very willing to share their knowledge with younger researchers – especially over a beer at the bar after the talks.

Thank you to Mike for being this week's featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here.