The main interest of my lab is understanding how extracellular signals are transmitted within mammalian cells. In particular, we study the various biological functions regulated by an intracellular enzyme, glycogen synthase kinase-3 (Gsk-3). More specifically, we have a keen interest in understanding why Gsk-3 deletion or inhibition promotes pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells. We have recently discovered a novel role for Gsk-3 in the regulation of mRNA methylation via controlling levels of the RNA demethylase FTO (read our paper). Since mRNA methylation had independently been found to be a key regulator of stem cell pluripotency, we speculate that Gsk-3 is regulating pluripotency via this mechanism. Much more work needs to be done in this area, but we are excited to pursue this line of investigation via our funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Note for Potential Graduate Students
If you are interested in applying to the University of Colorado Denver Department of Integrative Biology M.S. Program, you are strongly encouraged to take a biostatistics or related data analysis course during your senior year of college. Statistics is one of the required courses for the M.S. program, and my experience with M.S. students in this program is that not having taken statistics recently can be an impediment. You can contact the director of the graduate program, Dr. Alan Vajda, if you have specific questions regarding your course background. General information about the graduate programs at the University of Colorado Denver can be found here: https://clas.ucdenver.edu/integrative-biology/academics/graduate-programs.