The Program in Nucleic Acid Biology focuses on mechanisms underlying DNA replication and mutagenesis as well as on the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression by processes such as alternative splicing and microRNA function. The Program includes basic researchers interested in cell transformation and cancer who focus their work on a wide range of interrelated topics, including human genetics, DNA replication and repair, mRNA transcription and processing and gene regulation by endogenous or introduced non-coding RNAs. Program members share a common interest in the role of protein:nucleic acid interactions in regulating gene expression and cell growth. Although there is a significant interest in using prokaryotic model systems, the primary focus is on eukaryotic cells. Members interact through regularly scheduled research presentations, such as those sponsored by the Duke Center for RNA Biology, and through a wide range of relevant seminar presentations. Collaborations between members of the program, and particularly with other Cancer Center members, are numerous and productive. A new initiative relates to efforts to use RNA interference (RNAi) to study the role of specific viral and cellular gene products in the regulation of cell growth and transformation as well as to study the potentially critical role of the large endogenous family of non-coding RNA, termed microRNAs, in these processes. Co-leaders of the Program are Bryan R. Cullen, James B. Duke Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Mariano Garcia- Blanco, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. The Program includes 21 members from 7 basic and clinical departments within Duke University. Total funding for program members is $7,599,091, of which $7,177,023 is from peer-reviewed sources. A cancer focus is illustrated by $790,117 or 11 % of funding from the NCI, the American Cancer Society or the Department of Defense. From 2004-2008, program members published 290 papers in peer-reviewed journals cited in PubMed. Of these publications, 2.4% are the result of intra-programmatic collaborations and 9.0% due to inter-programmatic collaborations. The program serves to focus the research of this very strong group of scientists on different aspects of the molecular genetics of cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Duke University
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McDonnell, Eoin; Crown, Scott B; Fox, Douglas B et al. (2016) Lipids Reprogram Metabolism to Become a Major Carbon Source for Histone Acetylation. Cell Rep 17:1463-1472
Liu, Hongliang; Gao, Fengqin; Dahlstrom, Kristina R et al. (2016) A variant at a potentially functional microRNA-binding site in BRIP1 was associated with risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Tumour Biol 37:8057-66
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Yuan, Hua; Liu, Hongliang; Liu, Zhensheng et al. (2016) A Novel Genetic Variant in Long Non-coding RNA Gene NEXN-AS1 is Associated with Risk of Lung Cancer. Sci Rep 6:34234
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Matak, Pavle; Matak, Andrija; Moustafa, Sarah et al. (2016) Disrupted iron homeostasis causes dopaminergic neurodegeneration in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:3428-35
Friedman, Daphne R; Sibley, Alexander B; Owzar, Kouros et al. (2016) Relationship of blood monocytes with chronic lymphocytic leukemia aggressiveness and outcomes: a multi-institutional study. Am J Hematol 91:687-91

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