Astrid Engel    

Astrid Engel, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
1440 Canal Street, Suite 405A
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 988-6160

Curriculum Vitae


Research Interests:



Professional Achievements:

  • Recipient of a Superior Graduate Student Fellowship (Sept. 1990 - Aug. 1994).
  • Ninth Annual LSUMC Graduate School Research Day, Sigma Xi Society Award 1st place advanced student presentation (1994).
  • Recipient of a Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans (CAGNO) research Grant (1994-1995). 
  • Eleventh Annual Tulane Health Research  Day, Sigma Xi Society Award 1st place (1999). 
  • Recipient of a Brown Foundation Superior Fellowship from the Tulane Cancer Center. (1999-2000).
  • Recipient of a Phase I, Tulane Research Enhancement Fund Award (2006).
  • Recipient of a Phase II, Tulane Research Enhancement Fund Award (2006). 
  • Recipient of LCRC Competitive Advantage Award (2006-2007).

Educational Background:

  • PhD, Louisiana State University Medical Health Sciences Center, 1995
  • Licenciate, Microbiology and Clinical Chemistry, University of Costa Rica, San José, 1987

Selected Publications:

Roy-Engel, A.M., Carroll, M.L., El-Sawy, M., Salem, A-H., Garber, R. K., Nguyen, S.V., Batzer, M.A., and Deininger, P.L. (2002) Non-traditional Alu evolution and primate genomic diversity. J. Mol. Biol. 316:1033-1040.

West, N.C., Roy-Engel, A.M., Imataka, H., Sonenberg, N., and Deininger, P.L. (2002) Shared Protein Components of SINE RNPs. J. Mol. Biol. 321:423-432. Roy-Engel, A.M., Salem, A-H., M., Oyeniran, O.O., Deininger, L., Hedges, D.J., Kilroy, G.E., Batzer, M.A. and Deininger, P.L. (2002) Active Alu element "A-tails"; size does matter. Genome Res. 12: 1333-1344.

Johanning, K., Alemán Stevenson, C., Oyeniran, O.O., Gozal, Y.M., Roy-Engel, A.M., Jurka, J., and Deininger, P.L. (2003) Potential for retroposition by old Alu subfamilies. J.Mol. Evol. 56:658-664.

Roy-Engel, A.M., El-Sawy, M., Farooq, L., Odom, G.L., Perepelitsa-Belancio, V., Bruch, H., Oyeniran, O.O., and Deininger, P.L. (2005) Human retroelements may introduce intragenic polyadenylation signals. Cytogenetic and Genome Res. 110:365-371.

Kale, S.P., Moore, L., Deininger, P.L., and Roy-Engel, A.M. (2005) Heavy metals stimulate human LINE-1 retrotransposition. Int.J.Env.Res. Public Health. 2: 84-90.

El-Sawy, M., Kale, S., Dugan, C., Nguyen, T.Q., Belancio, V., Bruch, H., Roy-Engel, A.M.*, and Deininger, P.L.* (2005) Nickel stimulates L1 retrotransposition through a post-transcriptional mechanism. J. Mol. Biol. 354:201-506.*equal senior authors.

Kale, S.P., Carmichael M.C., Harris, K., and Roy-Engel, A.M. (2006) The L1 retrotranspositional stimulation by particulate and soluble cadmium exposure is independent of the generation of DNA breaks. Int.J.Env.Res. Public Health. 3: 121-128.

Belancio, V.P., Pochampally, R.R., Roy-Engel, A.M., Deininger, P.  (2010) Somatic expression of LINE-1 elements in human tissues, Nucleic Acids Res.38: 3909-3922. Epub March 9, 2010. (PMCID: PMC2896524). 

Roy-Engel, AM. (2012). LINEs, SINEs and other retroelements: do birds of a feather flock together? Front Biosci. Jan 1; 17:1345-61.


Book chapters and reviews:

Roy, A.M., Carroll, M.L., Kass, D.H., Nguyen, S.V., Salem, A-H., Batzer, M.A., and Deininger, P.L. (2000) Recently integrated human Alu repeats: finding needles in the haystack. In: Georgia Genetics Review I: Transposable elements & Evolution.

McDonald, J.F. Ed. Kluwer Press. Roy, A.M., and Deininger, P.L. (2002) Alu In: Encyclopedia of Molecular Medicine. Creighton, T. Ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 166-168. Deininger, P.L. and Roy-Engel, A.M. (2001) Mobile elements in animal and plant genomes. In: Mobile DNA II.

Craig, N.L., Craigie, R., Gellert, M., and Lambowitz, A. Eds ASM Press. Roy-Engel, A.M., Batzer, M.A., and Deininger, P.L. (2001) Evolution of the human retrosequence: Alu In: Encyclopedia of the Human Genome. Nature Publishing Group Reference, Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Roy-Engel, A.M. and Batzer, M.A. (2002) Repetitive DNA sequences In: Genetics, R. Robinson Ed. Macmillan Reference USA , Farmington Hills, MI. Roy-Engel, A.M. (2004) Dynamics of SINE amplification In: Recent Research Developments in Dynamical Genetics, volume one.

Parisi, V., De Fonzo, V., Aluffi-Pentini, F. Eds Research Signpost. Belancio V.P., Deininger P.L., Roy-Engel A.M. (2009) LINE dancing in the human genome: transposable elements and disease. Genome Med 1(10):97.

Belancio, V.P., Roy-Engel, A.M., and Deininger, P.L. (2010) All y'all need to know 'bout retroelements in cancer.  In: Seminars in Cancer Biology, 12:4 Izsvak, Z and Ivics, Z Eds. (PMCID: PMC2896524).

Roy-Engel, A.M. (2011) LINEs, SINEs and other non-LTR retrotransposons: do birds of a feather flock together? Frontiers in Bioscience. In Press

Roy-Engel, A.M. (2011)  LINEs, SINEs and other non-LTR retrotransposons: do birds of a feather flock together? Frontiers in Bioscience.  In Press. 


Personal Statement:

My main interest involves the study of retroelements and understanding their amplification mechanism and how they affect the human genome. Throughout evolution, the activity of mobile elements has had a major influence in the shaping of genomes. Currently, only the retroelements LINE-1 and the Alu SINE are active. These insertions in the genome have significantly contributed to genetic disease. The genetic instability caused by the insertional mutagenesis of mobile elements can be a contributing factor in carcinogenesis. Despite the mutagenic potential of mobile elements, studies concerning the mechanistic aspects of SINEs and retropseudogene amplification are in their initial stages. To be able to understand what modulates the activity of retroelements, our efforts concentrate in defining the factors involved in the retroposition mechanism of these elements. The long-term goal is to gain a fundamental understanding of how these components (both cellular and intrinsic to mobile elements) modulate the retroposition mechanism of retroelements and their contribution to human disease and genetic instability.


Level of Instruction:



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Department of Epidemiology, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2000, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-6809