EricaFratz

Erica Fratz, MS

Graduate Research Assistant, College Of Medicine Molecular Medicine

Contact Info 12901 BRUCE B. DOWNS BLVD MDC BOX 7
Ferreira Lab
TAMPA, FL 336124799

Academic Email: efratz@health.usf.edu

Education

  • MS, Medical Sciences, USF, 2011
  • BS, Biochemistry, Lehigh University, 2009

Research Interests

  • The Ferreira laboratory focuses on the heme biosynthetic pathway, which consists of eight enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Heme biosynthesis occurs under the control of the enzyme 5-Aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS), which catalyzes the first and rate-limiting reaction of succinyl-CoA with glycine to produce 5-aminolevulinate (ALA), CoA, and CO2. Loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations in human erythroid ALAS (ALAS2) have been associated with two diseases, x-linked sideroblastic anemia (XLSA) and x-linked dominant protoporphyria (XLDPP), respectively. In XLDPP, the gain-of-function of the ALAS2 enzyme causes extreme photosensitivity resulting from protoporphyrin IX accumulation in the skin of patients. Although the mutations associated with XLSA occur throughout the ALAS2 gene, those associated with XLDPP all correspond to modifications in the C-terminus of the mature enzyme. The 26 C-terminal amino acids of mature ALAS2 are highly conserved, and yet differ from those in ALAS1, the housekeeping ALAS isoform, suggesting that the C-terminus may play an important role in erythroid-specific regulation. The overall hypothesis of my project is that the C-terminal region of ALAS2 provides specific regulatory mechanisms of heme biosynthesis to precursor erythroid cells.

Memberships

  • USF Association of Medical Science Graduate Students (Department Representative for Molecular Medicine, 2011 - Present)

Awards/Honors

  • • Dr. K Award for Outstanding Student Leadership and Service (AMSGS, USF - 2011)
  • Merck Index Award (Merck, Lehigh University - 2009)
  • Hypercube Scholar Award (Hypercube, Inc. - 2009)