Research Initiation Award: Uncovering the Role of Germline-Specific MAGE-B2 Protein in Maintenance of Cellular Identity
Research Initiation Awards provide support for junior and mid-career faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are building new research programs or redirecting and rebuilding existing programs. It is expected that the award helps to further the faculty member's research capability and effectiveness, improves research and teaching at the home institution, and involves undergraduate students in research experiences. The award to Fisk University will provide an outstanding venue for students to gain both competence and confidence across more traditional disciplinary lines. The research proposed broadens collaborative research opportunities with other Fisk Faculty, by bringing the tools of mammalian cell culture, epigenetics and computational analyses of gene expression.
The goal of this project is to determine the fundamental biological processes that drive expression (transcription) of MAGE-B2, a member of this enigmatic gene family, and test the hypothesis that aberrant expression of MAGE-B2 perturbs cell cycle control, proliferation and/or differentiation. Melanoma antigen genes (MAGEs) encode for proteins that are critical regulators of endosomal trafficking, neuronal development, cell cycle progression and germ cell development. A subset of the MAGE proteins (Type I MAGEs) is physiologically restricted in expression to male germline cells. Aberrant expression in any other cells leads to a wide-variety of cellular dysfunctions pertaining to cell proliferation. The work involves molecular and cell biological approaches as well as computational analyses critical for engaging in contemporary biological research.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.