Protein Effect on Germline Stem Cells

Faculty Information

Faculty Name:            Brett D. Keiper, PhD

Department:              Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Contact Information:   Tel: (252) 744-2656     Lab: (252) 744-2693 ;


Research Description

Highlights of Research:

The research in my lab studies mRNA translation in developing germ cells (sperm and eggs). The purpose is to see how protein synthesis is subtly regulated to cause germline stem cells to differentiate into these two very different gametes. We recognize that new proteins lead to a new cell fates. The mechanisms that select mRNAs for translation alter the protein composition of a cell. Our previous research suggests mRNA control is as important in cancer progression as it is in gametes and early embryonic/fetal development.


Students will be expected to carry out molecular biology experiments and microscopy analysis of both normal and mutated strains of the worm, C. elegans. Much of the research involves careful curation of genetic strains, and analyses of DNA, RNA and protein samples. Some experience in fluorescence microscopy and microinjection may be feasible, for students who show advanced skills.



Class or level of student sought:  2nd-4th year biology or chemistry major

Needed skills:

  • Some familiarity with electrophoresis, sterile technique, and genetics are required

Additional requirements:

  • Careful notebook skills
  • Attention to detail


Time Commitment 

Time commitment per week: 10-12 hr; will need at least one open block of 2-4 hr each week

Start Date:   Spring semester 2016, Summer



There is a potential for pay ($ 8/hr) in summer, funds permitting.

Students may receive Independent Study course credit through the office of Undergraduate Research (Dr. Mary Farwell).

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