Keith A Maggert, PhD

Cancer Biology Program


Keith A. Maggert earned his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1992. He worked for 3 years with Michael Levine at the University of California San Diego, studying the developmental genetics of mesoderm formation in Drosophila, before moving to the Salk Institute and completing his Ph.D. in 2000 studying centromere structure with Gary Karpen. His postdoctoral work investigating the epigenetics of chromosome imprinting was completed in 2004, with Kent Golic at the Univeristy of Utah and the Stowers Institute. In 2004, he was hired as assistant professor of Biology at Texas A&M Univeristy, and moved to the University of Arizona in 2015.

Cancer Focus

My laboratory investigates the properties and functions of heterochromatin. We focus on two types of heterochromatin – the constitutive heterochromatin that is necessary for centromere activity and chromosome cohesion, and the facultative heterochromatin that regulates ribosomal gene expression and copy number stability. Defects in either can lead to gene dysregulation, chromosome damage, transposon mobilizations, and genome instability, mutagenic events common in the onset and progression of almost all known cancers. We use molecular-genetic and cytological methods to monitor heterochromatin formation through development and in stress conditions in order to understand when heterochromatin is formed, under what conditions it is defective, and what experimental interventions can assure or restore genome-protective functions.