Dr. Geetu Tuteja received her B.A. in Computer Science with a minor in Chemistry from Boston University in 2004 and her Ph.D. in Genomics and Computational Biology in the Department of Genetics, the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. From 2010 to 2015, Dr. Tuteja was a postdoctoral research fellow with Professor Gill Bejerano of Stanford University’s Beckman Center, within the Department of Developmental Biology, in Stanford, California.
Dr. Tuteja joined the GDCB faculty in July 2015 as a tenure-eligible assistant professor and a Gregory L. and Kathleen C. Geoffroy Faculty Fellow. This three-year fellowship was awarded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to Dr. Tuteja as part of her new faculty appointment and is awarded at the discretion of the dean and designed to attract the very best junior faculty to the college. During her time as an assistant professor, Dr. Tuteja obtained R01 funding through the National Institutes of Health, and was named a Pew Biomedical Scholar in 2019, becoming the first Iowa State researcher to recieve this honor. Based on her established independent research program and exemplary teaching portfolio, she was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2020, one year ahead of the standard promotion timeline.
Our lab is broadly interested in transcriptional regulation, which is directed in part by the binding of sequence-specific transcription factors (TFs) to enhancer regions. Identifying cell-type specific enhancers is crucial for understanding the genetic architecture underlying development and disease. Currently we are studying the molecular mechanisms underlying trophoblast invasion, a process that occurs in early placental development and establishes adequate blood flow between mother and fetus. Defects in trophoblast invasion can lead to a number of disorders, such as preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and placenta creta.
We are applying next-generation sequencing technologies to identify enhancers and transcription factor binding events specific to the process of trophoblast invasion using the mouse model. We use computational approaches to analyze and integrate our data sets, and to construct gene-enhancer networks. Finally, we test functionality of the gene enhancer network components using mouse and human cell lines. Ultimately, we hope that our findings will translate to early detection and prevention of common and serious placental disorders.