Cellular Posttranscriptional Response to Hypoxia

Faculty Information

Faculty Name: Kyle D. Mansfield

Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Brody School of Medicine

Contact Information: mansfieldk@ecu.edu; 744-5519; Room 5S-10 Brody


Research Description

Highlights of Research:

Oxygen limitation, or hypoxia, is a key component of many diseases and includes periods of acute ischemia such as arise during stroke, as well as more persistent hypoxia like that which occurs in growing tumors. Our lab is studying the cellular posttranscriptional response to hypoxia including global changes in mRNA decay and translation rates and how they relate to the severity and duration of hypoxia. We are currently focusing on the role of the KHSRP RNA Binding Protein in regulating mRNA stability during oxygen and glucose deprivation. Additional studies aim to determine the cellular signaling events that lead to changes in KHSRP regulation and how manipulation of those signaling events can alter the cellular response to hypoxia.

In addition we have recently become interested in a particular epigenetic modification of mRNA, Methyl-6-Adenosine (M6A), and the role it and the enzymes that control its cellular levels play in post-transcriptional regulation particularly in regards to hypoxia and cancer progression. By understanding the posttranscriptional events that occur in hypoxic cells, we hope to better exploit these changes in designing treatments for the myriad of diseases that result in cellular hypoxia.

Original, independent projects are developed in collaboration with the student based on laboratory needs and student interest. Any project undertaken in the Mansfield lab will require in-depth reading of primary literature, along with the mastering of a number of molecular biology and biochemical techniques. Some of the techniques involved in these studies include mammalian tissue culture, RNP-immunoprecipitation, RNA and protein isolation, real-time PCR, western blotting, and molecular cloning. Projects are envisioned as an independent research project with the student working directly with Dr. Mansfield who will provide guidance and training concerning background, protocols and experimental design, while the student will be responsible for conducting the experiments and analyzing the results. The goal of the experience will be to have a well-developed project to present at various research symposiums, including ECU RCAW and hopefully to be published in a professional journal.




Looking for a student who has had some exposure to molecular biology, either through course or lab work in order that they can conceptually understand the project and its implications. Previous research experience is NOT necessary.



I would prefer a sophomore or junior who can potentially commit multiple years to a given project to provide time for training and to hopefully see the project through to completion/publication. However, seniors with previous molecular/cellular biology research experience are also welcome.


Time Commitment 

Time commitment per week: Approximately 10 hours per week, preferably with at least 1 or 2 larger chunks of time (3-4 hours).

Start Date: Spring Semester (January 2016)



Possible paid position depending on the amount of time worked in the lab. Rate is negotiable.


Students may receive Independent Study course credit through this opportunity.

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