Paul Laybourn

Paul LaybournProfessor
Office: MRB 279
Phone: 970-491-5100
Education: Ph.D., University of California, Davis
Research Title: Improving student learning outcomes through active learning approaches and engagment through research and socio-scientific issues.

     Previously, my research program is centered on investigating the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic cells at the level of transcription. My laboratory used two model organisms/cells, yeast and human T-cells and model promoters of the PHO5 gene and the HTLV-1 LTR. We used both in vivo and biochemical approaches to address the mechanism of transcriptional repression and activation in chromatin.  Initially, the research in my laboratory focused on the role of chromatin structure in transcriptional regulation using the yeast system. We have developed a yeast chromatin assembly system that is the most widely used by other laboratories conducting analysis of transcriptional regulation in a chromatin context. We employed this system to investigate the mechanism of PHO5 transcriptional regulation.  My research program expanded into human T-cells and HTLV-1 Tax transactivation in collaboration with Jenny Nyborg and Karolin Luger.

     Over the past decade, I have become aware of the need for teacher-scholars in the life-sciences discipline (discipline-based educational researchers or DBERs) to improve retention and success students in the sciences, particularly those traditionally underrepresented.  I have moved away from traditional lecture to an inverted classroom model to allow students to interact and engage with the core concepts and big ideas in cell biology and biochemistry.  This has included the use of iClicker response system, 3D-printed models and other molecular models, in-class hands on learning activities, Learning Assistant led small group exercises and connection with socio-scientific issues like cancer and beer brewing.  I am working with CSU TILT and C-ALT to develop and implement best teaching practices.

     Current funding includes NSF and NIH support for programs providing undergraduate research experiences for minority and first generation students from Front Range Community College and primarily undergraduate institutions across the United States.  In connection with this, I lead efforts to offer professional development for undergraduate students conduction research and their mentors based on "Entering Research" and "Entering Mentoring".

     Recent funding from NSF supported collaborative research with Meena Balgopal, Department of Biology, and faculty at Minnesota State University - Moorhead on implementing writing-to-learn (WTL) activities in large introductory life science courses.  Our purpose is to improve learning outcomes through increased scientific literacy for all students.  The WTL activities engaged students through a socio-scientific issue (cancer treatment) through iterative writing evoking cognitive-affective-behavioral knowledge.  We designed the WTL activities to maximize peer and self-evaluation opportunities, while minimizing the time required for instructor assessment. Students used graphic organizers to organize and make meaning of relevant scientific content and concepts introduced through reading, lecture, and discussions. WTL activities had significant positive impact on learning outcomes, scientific literacy and exam performance. We compared the learning outcomes in the same course taught by the same instructor with and without the WTL activities described here (no writing, three WTC assignment and one WTC assignment on all three core topics).  We found that WTL significantly improved learning outcomes, particularly for first generation and underrepresented minority students.

     I strongly support efforts to increase diversity in science.  I am a member of SACNAS and a fellow in the CSU Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence.

Selected Publications

Balgopal, M. M, Casper, A. M. A., Wallace, A. M., Laybourn, P. J. and Brisch, E. "Writing Matters: Writing-to-Learn Activities Increase Undergraduate Performance in Cell Biology" BioScience 68:6 445-454 (2018).

Bell, G. E., Sanchez-Pescador, R., Laybourn, P. J., and Najarian, R. C. "Exon duplication and divergence in the human preproglucagon gene," Nature 304, 368-371 (1983).

Dahmus, M. E., Laybourn, P. J., and Boorebaeck, C. A. K. "Production of monoclonal antibody against electrophoretically purified RNA polymerase II subunits using in vitro immunization," Molec. Immunol. 25, 997-1003 (1988).

Laybourn, P. J., and Dahmus, M. E. "Transcription dependent structural changes in the C-terminal domain of mammalian RNA polymerase subunit IIa/o," J. Biol. Chem. 264, 6693-6698 (1989).

Payne, J. M., Laybourn, P. J., and Dahmus, M. E. "The transition of RNA polymerase II from initiation to elongation is associated with phosphorylation of the C-terminal domain of subunit Iia," J. Biol. Chem. 264, 19621-19629 (1989).

Laybourn, P. J., and Dahmus, M. E. "Phosphorylation of RNA polymerase IIA occurs subsequent to interaction with the promoter and before the initiation of transcription," J. Biol. Chem. 265, 13165-13173 (1990).

Laybourn, P. J., and Kadonaga, J. T. "Role of nucleosomal cores and histone H1 in regulation of transcription by RNA polymerase II," Science 254, 238-245 (1991).

Laybourn, P. J., and Kadonaga, J. T. "Threshold phenomena and long-distance activation of transcription by RNA polymerase II," Science 257, 1682-1685 (1992).

Collins-Hicok, J., Lin, L., Spiro, C., Laybourn, P. J., Tschumper, R., Rapacz, B., and McMurray, C. T. "Induction of the rat prodynorphin gene through Gs-Coupled receptors may involve phosphorylation-dependent derepression and activation," Mol. Cell. Biol. 14, 2837-2848 (1994).

Pilon, J., Terrell, A., and Laybourn, P. J. Yeast chromatin reconstitution system using purified yeast core histones and yeast nucleosome assembly protein-1, Protein Expression and Purification 10, 132-140 (1997).

Campbell, K. M., Terrell, A. R., Laybourn, P. J., and Lumb, K. J. Intrisic Stuctural Disorder of the C-terminal Activation Domain from the bZIP Transcription Factor Fos, Biochemistry 39, 2708-2713 (2000).

Moss, D. R. and Laybourn, P. J. Upstream Nucleosomes and Rgr1p Are Required for Nucleosomal Repression of Transcription, Mol. Micro. 36, 1-14 (2000).

Martens, C., Krett, B., and Laybourn, P. J. RNA Polymerase II and TBP Occupy the Repressed CYC1 Promoter, Mol. Micro. 40, 1009-1019 (2001).

Georges, S. A., Kraus, W. L., Luger, K., Nyborg, J. K., and Laybourn, P. J. p300-Mediated Tax Transactivation from Recombinant Chromatin: Histone Tail Deletion Mimics Coactivator Function, Mol. Cell Biol. 22, 127-137 (2002).

Livengood J. A., Scoggin K.E., Van Orden K., McBryant S. J., Edayathumangalam R. S., Laybourn P. J., Nyborg J. K. "p53 Transcriptional activity is mediated through the SRC1-interacting domain of CBP/p300," J. Biol. Chem. 277(11), 9054-9061 (2002).

Lemasson I., Polakowski N. J., Laybourn P. J., Nyborg J. K. "Transcription factor binding and histone modifications on the integrated proviral promoter in human T-cell leukemia virus-I-infected T-cells," J. Biol. Chem. 277(51), 49459-49465 (2002).

Marilley M., Radebaugh C. A., Geiss G. K., Laybourn P. J., Paule M. R. "DNA structural variation affects complex formation and promoter melting in ribosomal RNA transcription," Mol Genet Genomics. 267(6), 781-791 (2002).

Terrell, A. R., Wongwisansri, S., Pilon, J. L. and Laybourn, P. J. Reconstitution of Nucleosome Positioning, Remodeling, and Transcriptional Activation on the PHO5 Promoter, J. Biol. Chem. 277, 31038-31047 (2002).

Georges, S. A., Giebler, H. A., Cole, P. A., Luger, K., Laybourn, P. J., and Nyborg, J. K. "Tax Recruitment of CBP/p300, via the KIX Domain, Reveals a Potent Requirement for Acetyltransferase Activity That Is Chromatin Dependent and Histone Tail Independent." Mol. Cell Biol. 23, 3392-3404 (2003).

McBryant SJ, Abernathy SM, Laybourn PJ, Nyborg JK, Luger K.Preferential binding of the histone (H3-H4)2 tetramer by NAP1 is mediated by the amino terminal histone tails, J. Biol. Chem. 278, 44574-44583 (2003).

Wongwisansri, S., and Laybourn, P. J.Reconstitution of Yeast Chromatin Using yNAP1 Meth. Enzymol., vol. 375, pp. 103-117 (2004).

Lemasson, I., N. J. Polakowski, P. J. Laybourn, J. K. Nyborg. 2004, Transcription regulatory complexes bind the human T-cell leukemia virus 5' and 3' long terminal repeats to control gene expression, Mol Cell Biol. 24, 6117-6126.

Bao, Y., K. Konesky, Y. J. Park, S. Rosu, P.N. Dyer, D. Rangasamy, D. J. Tremethick, P.J. Laybourn, K. Luger. 2004, Nucleosomes containing the histone variant H2A.Bbd organize only 118 base pairs of DNA, EMBO J. 23, 3314-3324.

Wongwisansri, S. and Laybourn, P. J. Disruption of the histone deacetylase gene RPD3 accelerates PHO5 activation kinetics through inappropriate Pho84p recycling, Euk. Cell 4, in press (2005).

I. Lemasson, N. J. Polakowski, P. J. Laybourn (corr. author), J. K. Nyborg, 2006, “Tax-dependent Displacement of Nucleosomes During Transcriptional Activation of Human T-cell Leukemia Virus, Type 1,” J. Biol. Chem. 281, 13075-13082.

K. L. Konesky, J. K. Nyborg, and P. J. Laybourn, 2006, “Tax Abolishes Histone H1 Repression of p300 Acetyltransferase Activity at the HTLV-1 Promoter,” J. Virol. 80, 10542-10553.

K. L. Konesky, and P. J. Laybourn, 2007, “Biochemical Analyses of Transcriptional Regulatory mechanisms in a Chromatin Context,” Methods, 41, 259-270.

J. M. Bogenberger and P. J. Laybourn, 2008, “Human T-lympotropic Virus Type 1 Protein Tax Reduces Histone Levels,” Retrovirology. 5:9.

Laybourn P., 2008, “The Ups and Downs of Tax and Histones in Adult T-cell Leukemogenesis,” Future Oncol. 4(3):311-7.

Balgopal, M. M., Laybourn, P. J., Wallace, A. M. and Brisch, E. "An Exploratory Study of How College Students Make Sense of Cancer in Writing-to-Learn Activities in Cell Biology." presented at NARST, Chicago, April 2015

NIH PubMed Publications List