Biochemistry & Cancer Biology

Tammy Morrish, Ph.D.




Tammy Morrish, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor 
Biochemistry and Cancer Biology




The unlimited growth potential of tumors relies on telomere maintenance.  Typically telomere
maintenance depends on telomerase, however, some tumors lack telomerase.  Approximately 10% of
tumors have been found to lack telomerase, and most of these tumors are sarcomas or neuronal cell
derived tumors.  Without telomerase, telomeres are instead maintained by recombination-based
mechanisms.  The focus of my laboratory involves understanding how recombination-based
mechanisms contribute to telomere maintenance particularly in tumors and primary cells lacking
telomerase.  Currently we are using a B-cell lymphoma mouse model, Eμmyc+ mTR-/-, which lacks
telomerase (mTR-/-).  We are interested in determining how repetitive sequences contribute to
recombination within the subtelomere and whether the integration of retrotransposons into the
subtelomere contributes to the process of telomere maintenance in tumors or some primary cells that
lack telomerase.  These studies involve the use of microarrays and sequence-based approaches to
examine changes in copy number sequences within the subtelomeric regions.  Using these assays
combined with lentiviral-based studies we can evaluate how different DNA repair genes/pathways
impact subtelomere recombination.
Member of the Graduate Faculty Council & the Mentoring Faculty for the Biomedical Sciences
Graduate Program, Cancer Biology Track.
B.A., Biochemistry, 1995, University of Texas @ Austin
Ph.D., Human Genetics, 2005, University of Michigan
2012-present, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry & Cancer Biology, University of Toledo
2011-2012, Research Associate, Molecular Biology & Genetics, Johns Hopkins University
2005-2011, Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Biology & Genetics, Johns Hopkins University
1995-1998, Research Assistant, Cellular & Structural Biology & Institute of Biotechnology, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio

Kopera, H., Moldovan, J., Morrish, T.A., Garcia-Perez, J., Moran, J.V. (2011) Similarities between LINE-1 reverse transcriptase and telomerase. Proc Natl Acad Sci 108:20345-20350.

Morrish, T.A. and Greider, C. (2009) Short telomeres initiate telomere recombination in primary and tumor cells.  PLoS Genetics 5:e1000357.

Morrish, T.A., Garcia-Perez, J.L., Stamato, T.D., Taccioli, G.E., Sekiguchi, J., and Moran, J.V. (2007) Endonuclease independent LINE-1 retrotransposition at mammalian telomeres.  Nature 446:208-212.

Muzny, D.M. et al.  (2006) The DNA sequence, annotation, and analysis of human chromosome 3. Nature 440:1194-1198.

Gilbert, N., Lutz, S., Morrish, T.A., and Moran, J.V. (2005) Multiple fates of L1 retrotransposition intermediates in cultured human cells.  Molec Cell Biol 25:7780-7795.

Zingler, N., Willhoeft, U., Brose, H.P., Schoder, V., Jahns, T., Hanschmann, K.M., Morrish, T.A., Lower, J., Schumann, G.G. (2005) Analysis of 5' junctions of human LINE-1 and Alu retrotransposons suggests an alternative model for 5'-end attachment requiring microhomology-mediated end-joining. Genome Res 16:789-790.

Athanikar, J.N., Morrish, T.A., and Moran, J. (2002) Of man in mice. Nature Genetics 32:562-563.

Morrish, T.A.,
Gilbert, N., Meyers, J.S., Vincent, B.J., Stamato, T.D., Taccioli, G.E., Batzer, M.A., and Moran, J.V. (2002) DNA repair mediated by endonucelase-independent LINE-1 retrotransposition. Nature Genetics 31:159-165.

Myers, J.S., Vincent, B.J, Udall, H., Watkins, W.S., Morrish, T.A, Kilroy, G.E., Swergold, G.D., Henke, J., Henke, L., Moran, J.V., Jorde, LB., and Batzer, M.A. (2002) A comprehensive analysis of recently integrated human Ta L1 elements.  Am J Human Gen 71:312-326.

Hlaing, T., Guo, R.F., Dilley, K.A., Loussa, J.M., Morrish, T.A., Shi, M.M., Vincenz, C., and Ward, P.A. (2001) Molecular cloning and characterization of DEFCAP-L and -S, two isoforms of a novel member of the mammalian Ced-4 family of apoptosis proteins.  J. Biol. Chem. 276:9230-9238.

Wei, W., Morrish, T.A., Alisch, R.S. and Moran, J.V. (2000) A transient assay reveals that cultured human cells can accommodate multiple LINE-1 retrotransposition events.  Anal Biochem284:435-438.

Bounpheng, M.A., Morrish, T.A., Dodds, S.G., and Christy, B.A. (2000) Negative regulation of selected bHLH proteins by eHAND. Exp Cell Res 257:320-321.

Trask, B.J., Friedman, C., Martin-Gallardo, A., Rowen, L., Akinbami, C., Blankenship, J., Collins, C., Giorgi, D., Iadonato, S., Johnson, F., Kuo, W.L., Massa, H., Morrish, T., Naylor, S., Nguyen, O.T., Rouquier, S., Smith, T., Wong, D.J., Youngblom, J, and van den Engh, G. (1998) Members of the olfactory receptor gene family are contained in large blocks of DNA duplicated polymorphically near the ends of human chromosomes.  Human Molec Gen 7:13-26.


Moran, J., and Morrish, T.A. (2005 & 2001) "Chromosomes: Noncoding DNA (including satellite DNA)" Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. Nature Publishing Group.
Last Updated: 6/26/15