Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Ambros, Victor R.
Location University of Massachusetts Medical School
Primary Field Genetics
Secondary Field Cellular and Developmental Biology
 Election Citation
Ambros and his coworkers discovered the first microRNA while studying a C. elegans gene. He used the nematode model to study how microRNAs, which are regulators of gene expression in plants and animals, are integrated into animal development and human disease.
 Research Interests
I am primarily a developmental biologist, interested is the genetic regulatory mechanisms that control animal development, and in particular the molecules that function during animal development to ensure the proper timing of developmental events. I have primarily employed the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system for studying the function of regulators of developmental timing, which in C. elegans are known as the "heterochronic genes", in reference to the remarkable changes in relative timing of developmental event that are elicited by mutations in these genes. The heterochronic genes comprise a set of interrelated regulatory pathways that include proteins that regulate the transcription of other genes, and also a class of small RNA, known as microRNAs, that regulate the production of protein by the messenger RNAs of specific target genes. Much of my research in recent years has been aimed at understanding how microRNAs are integrated into broader regulatory networks related to animal development and human disease, and at uncovering the molecular mechanisms for how microRNAs exert their effects on gene expression.

 
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