Dr. Philip Smaldino
<b>Department: </b>Biology<br><b>Research Area: </b>G-quadruplex nucleic acid structures and the cellular enzymes that unwind them with relevance to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), dementia, and cancer.<br>
Research Focus: The Smaldino laboratory is broadly interested in G-quadruplex nucleic acid structures and the cellular enzymes that unwind them. G-quadruplexes are stable, ‘knot-like’ structures that form within guanine (G)-rich regions of DNA or RNA. These structures provide an essential layer of transcriptional and translational regulation in a healthy cell. However, when in excess or aberrantly unwound, G-quadruplexes can become pathological. We focus our efforts on studying the major human G-quadruplex helicase G4R1 (aliases: DHX36 and RHAU. We apply our expertise in G-quadruplex and G4R1 biology to study normal neuronal development and Gquadruplex- linked diseases including, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), dementia, and cancer. We leverage a combinatorial approach of biochemical assays, human cell culture models, and mouse models to study these topics.
Potential Student Project(s):
Project 1: Study the role of a helicase (DHX36) enzyme in cancer.
Project 2: Study the role of a helicase (DHX36) enzyme in neurodegeneration.
Both projects would involve the handling of transgenic research mice (all necessary training provided).
Attributes/skills/background sought in undergraduate:
- Willing to initiate a conversation with me if feel that they are struggling or floundering.
- Works well with others; no problematic ego's.
- Realistic goals set each semester
- Lab technique trainings by led by me and/or senior students in the lab
- Weekly individual meetings
- Weekly group lab meetings
- Present at regional research conference
Contact: 765-285-3675, CL 231E