The Macromolecular Structure Group conducts fundamental research studying post-transcriptional gene regulatory pathways using molecular, biochemical, and structural approaches. A unifying theme of the group's work is to understand the molecular basis of specificity in gene regulatory pathways and how such specificity can modulate both protective responses and susceptibility to environmental stressors.
RNA regulation is an important layer of cellular response to stimuli, and specificity of target RNA recognition is a critical facet for coordinating control of gene expression for individual genes as well as networks. Two of the major areas of study examine gene regulation by Pumilio/fem-3 mRNA binding factor (PUF) proteins and RNA interference. The role of these pathways in environmental response has not been extensively explored, providing the opportunity to lay the groundwork for future understanding.
Traci M.T. Hall, Ph.D. is a tenured Senior Investigator leading the Macromolecular Structure Group and Acting Chief of the Laboratory of Structural Biology.ˇ She earned her B.S. in biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Ph.D. in pharmacology and molecular sciences from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.ˇ She was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Diplomacy Fellow with the U.S. Agency for International Development and a postdoctoral fellow with Daniel J. Leahy at Johns Hopkins before joining the NIEHS in 1998.