Hello and thanks for visiting!

I am a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Molecular and Computational Biology at the University of Southern California, working in the lab of Dr. Andrew Smith. Before starting at USC in 2012, I earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of New Hampshire, and did research in Bioinformatics with my undergraduate advisor, Dr. Phil Hatcher. A full PDF CV is available here, although there is no guarantee it is entirely up-to-date (last updated Pi day, 2017). A more professional picture (no mountains) is available on my LinkedIn Page.

Research Interests

Broadly, I am interested in understanding the role epigenetic regulation of genomes contributes to cellular differentiation, speciation, and oncogenesis. My exploration of the epigenome has often involved implementation of custom algorithms and pipelines for analysis of next-generation sequencing technologies, and occasionally the development of new statistical or computational theory. Recently, I have been increasingly interested in understanding not only the epigenetic regulation of specific biological systems, but also how different epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and genome accessibility work in concert to influence transcriptional regulation.

Recent Publications

Decato B, Lopez-Tello J, Sferruzzi-Perri AN, Smith AD, Dean MD (2017) DNA methylation divergence and tissue specialization in the developing mouse placenta. Molecular Biology & Evolution: In press [PDF] [Publisher's site]

Song Q, Decato B, Hong E, Zhou M, Fang F, Qu J, Garvin T, Kessler M, Zhou J, Smith AD (2013) A reference methylome database and analysis pipeline to facilitate integrative and comparative epigenomics. PLOS ONE 8(12): e81148 [PDF] [Publisher's site]

Kaaij LJT, van der Wetering M, Fang F, Decato B, Molaro A, Harmen JG, van der Werken H, van Es JH, Schuijers J, de Wit E, de Laat W, Hannon GJ, Clevers HC, Smith AD and Ketting RF (2013) DNA methylation dynamics during intestinal stem cell differentiation reveals enhancers driving gene expression in the villus. Genome Biology, 14:R50 [PDF] [Publisher's site]


I can say the phrase "I don't know" in over ten languages! My last name is pronounced duh-kay-toe. I have a soft spot for one particular Chemist. My not so professional hobbies include rock climbing, soccer, snowboarding, art and music, traveling (except red-eye flights), and culinary exploration.