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GloriaFerreira

Gloria Ferreira, Ph.D.

Professor, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
  • Our main research interest is defining the reaction and regulatory mechanisms of the first and terminal heme biosynthetic pathway enzymes, 5-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS) and ferrochelatase (FC). Iron overload is a clinically important feature of sideroblastic anemia, X-linked SA, and myelodysplastic syndrome, which often results from either ineffective hematopoiesis or the repeated transfusions undergone by the patients to manage their erythropoietic defects. The pathological consequences of mitochondrial mishandling of iron and heme synthesis are also evident in erythropoietic porphyrias. There is no cure for the above disorders, and thus understanding the mechanisms of the terminal stages of erythropoiesis becomes necessary for discovering novel therapeutic targets. Towards this goal, our on-going research focuses on establishing 1) whether succinyl-CoA synthetase b-subunit allosterically fine-tunes the activity of erythroid ALAS and 2) the mechanism of Fe2+ delivery to FC.
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RyanGreen

Ryan Green, M.S.

Graduate Research Assistant, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
  • Cancer therapy is often initially successful only to be followed by recurrence of drug resistant disease. I am interested in studying this phenomenon. Work in my lab has revealed an important signaling pathway involved in tumorigenesis: natriuretic peptide receptor A (NPRA). The loss of NPRA signaling reduces angiogenesis and tumor growth and NPRA modulates the homing of somatic stem cells to tumors by altering the expression of C-X-C chemokine receptor 4. We have also developed a 3D fibrous scaffold to use as a cell culture environment. I would like to apply these findings to the study of cancer stem cells. CSCs are a sub population of cancer cells that express stem cell transcription factors associated with-self renewal, are drug resistant and initiate metastasis. My hypothesis is that NPRA signaling modulates CXCR4 expression in cancer cells leading to metastasis and an increase in the CSC population. I will also investigate the effects of 3D culture on the CSC population.
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