Alteration of Gene Regulation by Environmental Compounds
Robert C. Blake, II, Ph.D.
The objectives of the ARCH program at Xavier were compatible with those of the overall ARCH Program. In partnership with Tulane University, the scientific focus of this project is to study xenobiotic regulation of gene transcription. This was done collaboratively on both campuses by Research Projects conducted at Tulane and Pilot Projects on the Xavier campus. The Research Projects study the influence of environmental agents on alu/alu recombination and cubulin as the metallothionein-heavy metal renal receptor. Three pilot projects were funded. They studied the effects of xenobiotics on binding interactions of the estrogen receptor; general methods to clone and characterize steroid receptors from wildlife species; and the role of metallothionein in oxidative stress in heart tissue. Three facilities cores were established at Xavier University to provide centralized services or equipment to maximize the efficiency of ARCH program research. They are the Tissue Culture Core, the Environmental Molecular Biology Core, and the Molecular Interactions Core.
While the ARCH program was designed to support high quality scientific research that employs cutting edge technologies, an equally important component of the ARCH program is faculty development. Features of Xavier University's ARCH Program devoted to faculty development include the recruitment and hiring of new faculty who have been or demonstrate the capacity to successfully compete for peer reviewed grant awards; the development of grantsmanship and manuscript preparation courses conducted by established investigators from Tulane University; and importantly, teaching release time for Xavier University ARCH investigators to allow for more interactive collaborations with Tulane investigators as well as additional time devoted to creative and scholarly pursuits.