For the fourth year running, NAR and Oxford Journals have awarded prizes to students in recognition of their outstanding achievements. This year, John Pagano, a BMP graduate student in the Ryder Lab, was awarded the Best Presentation Award at the Symposium on RNA Biology VIII held in Research Triangle Park, NC. John’s work focuses on how the Caenorhabditis elegans RNA binding protein MEX-3 recognizes its messenger RNA (mRNA) targets to maintain germ cell potency and control cell fate specification. He presented the results of quantitative binding experiments that defined the consensus MEX-3 binding sequence required for interaction with its mRNA targets. He further demonstrated that this element is necessary for MEX-3- dependent regulation in early embryos. Identification of the MEX-3 specificity determinant enabled prediction of several candidate regulatory targets that may contribute to its biological role in development.
An article describing his research was published in the December 11th issue of PNAS.