Barr, Keaton

Keaton is in the Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology Graduate Program, and joined the CMB training program in 2018.  He received a B.S. degree in Biochemistry from Southern Oregon University.

Mentor: Dr. Guillaume Chanfreau

Research project:

      Recently, it has been shown that DNA binding proteins can act as a roadblock in the action of the transcriptional machinery.  However, the mechanism and exact function of these roadblocks is not very well understood.  One hypothesis is that these roadblocks help function in the termination of transcriptional activity, as well as prevent read-through transcription events from occurring.  A wide variety of human diseases are known to be caused by the incorrect termination of mRNA transcription, so understanding this mechanism may shed light on the source of these diseases.

      My research will focus on utilizing the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae to investigate the mechanism and function of these transcriptional roadblocks.  Additionally, I will attempt to determine how pervasive roadblocks are in the genome, and what happens when they fail to function properly.  This will be performed primarily by deleting or depleting candidate genes, and then using northern blots and next-generation sequencing to determine the effects on transcription.  Ideally, this research will reveal the identities of genes involved in the roadblock pathway, exactly which transcripts are affected, and how that affects the health of the cells.