Micah Gearhart

Assistant Professor


Dr. Gearhart is a developmental biologist investigating epigenetic processes that control the formation and health of the placenta. His laboratory uses mouse models and human trophoblast stem cells to uncover molecular mechanisms underlying placental insufficiencies. After receiving an undergraduate degree in chemistry, he studied the structural biology of transcription factors as a PhD student at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. As a postdoctoral fellow in Vivian Bardwell's laboratory at the University of Minnesota, he discovered the non-canonical variant of the Polycomb Repressive Complex (PRC1.1). He most recently held a position as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development and served as a bioinformatics consultant for the Developmental Biology Center. 

Research Summary

Research Interests

The temporal and spatial control of gene expression during development is a dynamic process that relies on altering the composition of DNA-associated factors as well as the nuclear organization of the genome. Advances in next-generation sequencing technologies have allowed us to take a precise look at the changes that occur throughout the genome as cells change from one type into another. Dr. Gearhart has 19+ years of bench experience studying transcriptional regulation, chromatin structure and protein-DNA interactions. His laboratory is interested in finding out 1) how the genome responds to cell-fate reprogramming by sequence-specific DNA binding proteins and 2) how cell identity is maintained by transcriptional regulators. They are particularly interested in factors that influence cell fate specification in human embryonic stem cells and trophoblast stem cells including the components of the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1.1. 

As a member of the Developmental Biology Center, Dr. Gearhart has collaborated extensively with other laboratories on model organisms such as M. musculus (mouse), D. melanogaster (fruitfly), C. elegans (nematode), D. rerio (zebrafish), G. gallus (chicken) and A. mexicanum (axolotl). He is a strong proponent of reproducible research and have published the full methods of my analyses at github.com/micahgearhart. Our department aims to train the next generations of biologists to embrace genome-wide approaches and apply statistical and critical analyses to their results and interpretations. His goal is not only to collaborate with investigators to analyze and interpret next generation sequencing data, but also to facilitate the transfer of knowledge regarding bioinformatics tools and statistical methods for functional genomics to our researchers and graduate students.




Room 5-147 MoosT
515 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455