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Jane Lopilato

Jane Lopilato
Associate Professor
Science Center, S254, Lab S242


Ph.D., Cell and Developmental Biology
Harvard University

B.A., Biology
Emmanuel College

Research Interests

Gene Silencing and Activation

I am interested in gene silencing, whether it is silencing across an entire chromosome as in mammalian X chromosome inactivation or specific genes on a chromosome such as the silent bgl operon in E. coli. I have characterized a new gene, bglJ, which results in bgl expression. Students in my lab discover and clone new genes involved in silencing for their independent study projects. Currently, we are working on six new regions of the chromosome containing uncharacterized silencers. We work with BglJ and other activators as well as with silencers such as H-NS. We use a variety of genetic and molecular approaches including mutational analysis, PCR, cloning, two-hybrid analysis, and enzyme assays. We carry out massive hunts for new genes involved in silencing and then characterize their functions.

Successful cloning of the slyA gene by the Biol 337- Molecular Biology students!


Cloning of the slyA gene. XL1 cells containing the vector pBAD24 and pBAD24-slyA were plated on Blood Agar + ampicillin + arabinose. Lysis is seen with pBAD24-slyA and not with pBAD24 alone. SlyA protein is being expressed and activating hlyE, which produces hemolysin.


  • Sabbatical Research Associate - July 2011 to January 2012 in the Infectious Diseases Unit, Boston Children's Hospital/HMS
  • Chair of the Biology Department, Simmons College - July 2001 to July 2006
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital - Fall 2005
  • Sabbatical Research Associate - July 2004 to January 2005
  • Dr. Jeannie Lee, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, "X-chromosome inactivation in mouse embryonic stem cells"

Selected Grants, Presentations, and Publications

Grants and Partnerships

  • Genomics Education Partnership (GEP), Washington University in St. Louis, MO by Dr. Sarah C. Elgin, HHMI.
  • MERCK/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research - J. Roecklein Canfield and J. Lopilato.


*Simmons students

  • Biol 350/370 Final Oral Presentations for January 2013 graduates:
    P. Joseph* and J. Lopilato. "The Silencing of the bgl Operon"
  • S. Tejeda* and J. Lopilato. "Effects of slyD?39 on bgl Silencing of E. coli K-12"
  • Outside Conferences:
    A. Pagala*, A. Jalavadia*. R. Wallace*, D. Berki*, L. Moody*, T. AuYeung*, K. Stevens*, C. Powell*. S. Wheeler*, and J. Lopilato. "Protein Folding, Metabolism, Motility, and Gene Silencing" at the Microbial Genetics and Genomics IV Meeting at Harvard Medical School, April 29- May 1, 2011, Boston, MA.
  • J.E. Lopilato, L. Moody*, T. AuYeung*, K. Stevens*, C. Powell*, and S. Wheeler* "Protein Folding, Metabolism, Motility, and Gene Silencing" at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, December 11-15, 2010, Philadelphia, PA.
  • S.C. Elgin et al "Bringing Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum: The Genomics Education Partnership" at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, December 11-15, 2010, Philadelphia, PA.
  • L. Moody*, T. AuLeung*, C. Powell* and J. Lopilato "Three New Silencers of the BglJ-activated bgl Operon in E. coli K12" by Laura Moody*, at the 15th Annual Boston Bacterial Meeting, Harvard University, June 18-19, 2009, Cambridge, MA.
  • K. Hager, Ph.D. and J. Lopilato, Ph.D. "The Muddy River as a Classroom" at the Muddy River Research Symposium, Colleges of the Fenway, Wheelock College, April 16, 2009, Boston, MA.
  • J. Lopilato. "Sounds of Silencing" at the Gene Expression and Regulation Affecting Growth and Development in Bacteria, Yeast, and Mice Meeting, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, October 3-5, 2008.
  • D. Plourde*, J. Baca*, L. Moody*, and Jane Lopilato. "Finding New Targets and a Regulator of BglJ in E. coli K-12." 14th Annual Boston Bacterial Meeting. June 12-13, 2008. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. All three were AAAS-Merck funded students.
  • Eastern New England Biological Conference (ENEBC) Student Presentations:
    ENEBC, Stonehill College, April 28, 2012.
    J. Hauke*1, J. Lopilato1, and S.C.R. Elgin2. "Annotation of Drosophila mojavensis 3l chromosome." 1Simmons College, Boston MA, 2Washington University, St. Louis MO.
  • ENEBC, Emmanuel College, April 9, 2011
    A. Pagala* and J. Lopilato "Understanding the Effects of FlhDC on Bgl Expression"
  • ENEBC, Bridgewater State College, April 10, 2010
    K. Stevens* and J. Lopilato "Silent Genes and Cell Wall Synthesis: Are They Linked?"
  • S. Wheeler* and J. Lopilato "FlhDC Silencing J- activated bgl Operon: Motility and Gene Silencing in E. coli K12"


  • Nora Erickson*, Jenna C. Phipps*, Jane Lopilato, and Jennifer A. Roecklein-Canfield. 2002. Purification of the Escherichia coli antisilencer protein BglJ by the GST fusion system. Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research1(3):131-136.
  • N. Aktar, H.Hagan, J.E. Lopilato, and A.H. Corbett. 2001. Functional analysis of the yeast Ran exchange factor, Prp20p: In vivo evidence for the RanGTP gradient model. Mol. Genet. Genomics 265:851-864.
  • Lopilato, J., M. Giel*, and M. Desnoyer*. 1996. A mutation in a new gene, bglJ, activates the bgl operon in E. coli K-12. Genetics 143:627-635.
  • Lopilato, J., N. Napolitano*, K. Michaels*, and K. Ottina. 1993. A bglJ mutation activates the expression of the cryptic bgl operon in E. coli K-12. J. Cell. Biochem. 17E:299