Dr. Geetu Tuteja

Assistant Professor

Tuteja Lab

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. 

We combine experimental genomics, computational biology, and molecular biology to investigate the gene-enhancer networks regulating early placental development.  The placenta is a hallmark of eutherian mammals, and has recently gained attention because it is understudied despite its importance in embryonic development.  Placenta development is a step-wise process, where spatiotemporal control of gene expression must be tightly regulated to ensure proper embryonic growth.

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.

Contact geetu {at} iastate {dot} edu if you are interested in discussing potential rotation projects or postdoctoral positions.

Recent Publications

Tuteja G, Chung T, Bejerano G (2015). Changes in the enhancer landscape during early placental development uncover a trophoblast invasion gene-enhancer network. Placenta; doi:10.1016/j.placenta.2015.11.001.

Tuteja G, Moreira KE, Wenger AM, Chung T, Chen J, Bejerano G (2014). Automated discovery of tissue-targeting enhancers and transcription factors from binding motif and gene function data. PLoS Computational Biology; 10(1): e1003449.

Wenger AM, Clarke SL, Notwell JH, Chung T, Tuteja G, Guturu H, Schaar BT, Bejerano G (2013). The enhancer landscape during early neocortical development reveals patterns of dense regulation and co-option. PLoS Genetics; 9(8):e1003728.

Tuteja G, Cheng E, Papadakis H, Bejerano G (2012). PESNPdb: A comprehensive database of SNPs studied in association with pre-eclampsia. Placenta; 33(12):1055-1057.

Li Z, Gadue P, Chen K, Jiao Y, Tuteja G, Schug J, Li W, Kaestner KH (2012). Foxa2 and H2A.Z mediate nucleosome depletion during embryonic stem cell differentiation. Cell; 151(7):1608-1616.

Li Z, Tuteja G, Schug J, Kaestner KH (2012). Foxa1 and Foxa2 are essential for sexual dimorphism in liver cancer. Cell; 148(1):72-83.

Tuteja G (2012). DNA-protein Interaction analysis (ChIP-Seq). In Bioinformatics for Next Generation Sequencing. Springer; 127-149.


Area of Expertise: 
functional prediction
Computational Systems and Network Biology
B.A., Computer Science, Boston University, 2004
PhD., Genomics and Computational Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2009
2106 Molecular Biology Building