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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

July 20, 2010

Professor receives NIH grant to continue research on gene regulation

Rafiq Islam

Dr. Rafiq Islam

MARYVILLE, Mo. - A Northwest chemistry and physics professor has been awarded a grant totaling $208,800 over the next three years to continue researching the regulation of the polycystic kidney disease gene.

Dr. Rafiq Islam received the funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research, titled "Novel Mekk1-p53 Mediated Transcriptional Regulation: Mechanism and Genome Wide Study" through June 30, 2013.

"This money allows me to continue the research and continue to train students on skills that they can use in their graduate and professional programs," Islam said. "This kind of a grant has been very good for training students, so I'm really happy to receive it."

In 2005, NIH awarded Islam $195,000 to support his study on how MEKK1, a mitogenic protein, regulates the polycystic kidney disease (PKD) gene. The NIH award was the first-ever for Northwest.

Islam noted a defect in the PKD gene or absence of its product in the kidney cells is one of the primary reasons for tumor, known as a cyst, development in the kidney.

"Interestingly, too much of its product in the kidney cells also leads to cyst formation," Islam said. "So proper regulation of the PKD gene is important for normal kidney function. However, the exact function of the PKD gene is not completely known yet."

During Islam's research during the previous funding period, his team identified a previously-unknown mechanism in which two independent regulators, MEKK1 and p53, an antitumor protein, come together to regulate the PKD gene.

The additional NIH grant funding will enable Islam to study this new mechanism further. Islam will research how it regulates the PKD gene and whether other genes are regulated by the new mechanism.

The project was supported by Award Number R15DK069897 from the National Institute Of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Diseases. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute Of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.

Islam also is being recognized this fall by the Northwest Alumni Association with the Distinguished Faculty Award.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468