Justina D McEvoy, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-8894
Professional Bio: 

Dr. McEvoy is an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology. She also has a joint appointment in the Department of Pediatrics and is a BIO5 member. Her research is focused on the long-term goal of understanding the regulation of differentiation during normal development and in pediatric cancers. To aid in this goal, she has developed a research project aimed at studying the epigenetic regulation of differentiation programs in rhabdomyosarcoma, a disease of the developing skeletal muscle.

Dr. McEvoy did her postdoctoral training with one of the leading groups in pediatric solid tumor research and with the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She acquired fundamental knowledge about retinal biology and the genomic and epigenomic perturbations in retinoblastoma. Her research findings led to the identification of an epigenetically deregulated proto-oncogene, SYK, which small molecule inhibitors are now being tested in preclinical mouse models of retinoblastoma. 

Dr. McEvoy published 6 peer-reviewed papers and 1 review in the fields of developmental biology, genomics and epigenomics. Prior to finishing her training, she used her expertise to begin defining the epigenomic landscape in another developmental tumor called rhabdomyosarcoma in order to identify deregulated genes and pathways that are clinically relevant. During this time, Dr. McEvoy led a team of researchers to develop ChIP-seq protocols and antibody optimization for nine histone modifications, RNA PoI II, and two chromatin-regulating proteins. They optimize ChIP-seq for two independent antibodies and carefully validated each one as recommended by ENCODE guidelines in order increase a reproducible high quality result. Over 1,000 ChIPs were performed to optimize each antibody and ChIP-seq protocols which are now freely available online at the Child Solid Tumor Network Repository (CSTN) (https://hospital.stjude.org/dbstp). As a result of Dr. McEvoy's training, she has learned the importance of communicating projects goals, creating realistic deadlines, collaborating across multiple disciplines, and constructing a research plan and budget to complete the proposed project.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Biology
Selected Publications: 

Academic Information

Post Doctoral: 
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Biology, Brown University, Providence, RI
Undergraduate School: 
BS, Biology, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA