The laboratory of Ronald “Nick” Laribee, PhD, studies how cells sense nutrients and transmit the information to the machinery regulating how genes are turned on and off. In particular, the research team is determining the role of a molecular machine that is fundamentally involved in all aspects of gene regulation, and which has roles in cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction and the maintenance of embryonic stem cells.
Currently an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Laribee received a grant totaling $1,350,000 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The study titled, “Mechanisms of Transcription Coregulator Usage by the Target of Rapamycin Pathway,” is being conducted over a five-year period.
“In particular, we are focusing on a cellular pathway called the target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway that has critical roles in cancer development, cardiovascular disease, and obesity,” Dr. Laribee explained. “Our NIH grant will support our studies of how this pathway regulates genes to control their expression and affect cancer development. The goal of these studies will be to ultimately determine if small molecules targeting specific functions of this complex might be viable for anti-cancer drug development.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.