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IU Northwest awarded $409,000 to research gene mutations that cause developmental delays, defects

Grant to support biomedical research conducted by IU Northwest faculty, undergraduate students

Faculty Aug 31, 2023
Dr. Ming Gao, IU Northwest associate professor of biology.
Dr. Ming Gao, IU Northwest associate professor of biology.

Indiana University Northwest was recently awarded over $409,000 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The principal investigator, Ming Gao, IU Northwest Associate Professor of Biology, will research “determining the role of me31B protein in germ cell development.”

Through the multi-year research project, Gao, alongside undergraduate students, will study the in vivo working mechanism of a me31B/DDX6 family protein, an evolutionarily conserved RNA helicase important for the development of germ cells and certain soma in diverse animal species, including humans.

“In humans, mutations in this protein can cause intellectual disabilities, anomalies in reproduction system organs and many other developmental delays and defects,” Gao said. “Knowledge gained from this research will provide a better understanding of how these family proteins contribute to human growth and shed light on potential treatments for human disorders related to this gene mutation.”

Undergraduate experience

Ming will be supported by IU Northwest undergraduate students who will conduct biological science experiments using molecular biology, genetics and biochemical techniques to analyze the role of the target gene (me31B gene) in the animal’s development and reproduction mechanism.

“We are grateful for this award, which will further enable the advancement of Dr. Gao’s research, while also enhancing the research environment of IU Northwest by engaging undergraduate students in front-line biological and biomedical research,” Ken Iwama, IU Northwest Chancellor, said.

With the funding, students will also have opportunities to travel to conferences to present their research findings and have their research published in scientific journals.

This grant was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15HD092925. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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