Biology Prof. John C. McDermott has received a memento of his Premier’s Research Excellence Award – a framed certificate signed by former Premier Michael Harris. McDermott’s research is at the forefront of using molecular tools to analyze specific genes and proteins to understand muscle development and disease. His studies are focused on how heart growth and repair are coded in the genes. The results could lead to improved drugs to treat heart failure.

McDermott is a bit of a pioneer in his field. He has zeroed in on one of the pieces of the puzzle concerning what causes heart disease – genetic predisposition. Taking his earlier findings of which genetic and biochemical regulators control skeletal muscle, he is applying them to his studies of the growth factors that activate muscle cells. His research team is looking at how specific muscle genes are transcribed, and how genetic information is dispatched and activated.