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Genes and Regulation

The "Genes and Signaling" focus area brings together the shared interests of half our faculty. Many are active in the Gene Expression in Development and Disease (GEDD) Focus Group, with interdisciplinary research and training opportunities for participating laboratories. The experimental systems used in these studies include plants, animals and microbes, as well as “in silico” research.

Under the topic of the enzymology of nucleic acids, specific research programs focus on DNA replication structural model of human mitochondrial DNA polymeraseand mechanisms to maintain the genetic integrity of DNA, including the study of biochemical pathways that lead to aberrant cell proliferation or cancer when cells experience DNA damage.

Several research programs study the mechanism of transcription and its regulation through chromatin epigenetics. These studies range from elucidating the details of biochemical mechanisms to system-wide analysis of regulatory programs in development. Further whole-organism research examines cellular signaling pathways in response to environmental stimuli. These projects tie together gene control mechanisms and metabolic pathways, inflammatory responses, and programmed cell death.

Additional research is centered on RNA-based processes including the mechanism of RNA catalysis and splicing.

Composing one of the three major research areas of the Department, these strong research programs directed by leading investigators constitute an internationally-recognized strength at Michigan State University. The addition of new faculty provides added dimension to this focus area, and builds on our strength. Students and postdocs who work in this exciting focus area make important scientific contributions while receiving outstanding training in preparation for successful scientific careers.