Mark Bayfield, professor of biology in the Faculty of Science, has been awarded a $606,195 grant over five years from the Institute of Genetics (IG) through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The grant will support his research on La and La-related protein function in RNA metabolism and human disease.
“The normal function of proteins is to support the healthy growth of cells. In humans, certain proteins can also play important roles in the infectious cycles of pathogens, such as Hepatitis C and HIV, and in the development of cancer through abnormal functions,” said Bayfield.
“One such class of proteins is the La and La-related proteins. While scientists have an increasingly strong understanding of the role La proteins plays in RNA processing in normal cells, knowledge of the of the mechanisms by which these proteins abnormally contribute to human disease states is severely lacking,” he said.
Bayfield’s research aims to target this knowledge gap, in part by asking: how do La proteins bind to RNA and how do they recognize normal versus viral RNA targets? By identifying new targets for therapeutic intervention for a number of challenges to human health, Bayfield’s lab seeks to enhance our understanding of the contribution of this protein family to disease states.
The Institute of Genetics (IG) community is made up of researchers, scientists, community groups and individuals from Canada and around the world. IG supports research on the human and model genomes and on all aspects of genetics, basic biochemistry and cell biology related to health and disease, including the translation of knowledge into health policy and practice, and the societal implications of genetic discoveries.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system.