Kate Meyer is an Assistant Professor at Duke University. Kate specializes in molecular & cellular biology and she is recognized for working on enhancing understanding of RNA biology and N6-methyladenosine (m6A) in mRNAs. Some of her interests are RNA biology, epigenetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and neurobiology. Kate completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Northwestern University.
For a long time, RNAs have been thought to be composed of four bases: A, G, C, and U. Studies in the 1970s provided the first hints that modified bases may also exist, but because these bases are hard to detect, the question of whether they were a prevalent feature of the transcriptome remained a mystery for the next forty years. In 2012, Dr. Meyer showed for the first time that thousands of cellular RNAs contain a fifth base called m6A, which occurs when adenosine residues become methylated. These studies revealed a new layer of RNA regulation and helped spawn an entire field of study into the nature of the “epitranscriptome.”
More recently, Dr. Meyer’s research found that m6A residues located in distinct regions of a transcript can promote a unique form of translation initiation which is important during the cellular stress response. Since stress response pathways have been implicated in several human diseases, future research into the mechanisms through which m6A controls gene expression may identify novel pathways that can be targeted therapeutically.
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