Paul R.Copeland
Department: Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Phone: 1.7322354670
Email: copelapr@rwjms.rutgers.edu
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Room 738
Room 738
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Key Words: RNA biology, protein synthesis, selenium biology and oxidative stress in cancer, fertility and neurodegeneration

Our primary research question targets the protein synthetic machinery as one of the primary sites for the regulation of gene expression. The utilization of the essential trace element selenium is a unique example, as it is required for the synthesis and function of an essential group of proteins that contain the amino acid selenocysteine. In fact, many of these so-called selenoproteins are known to provide protection from oxidative cellular damage and transformation, thus making the synthesis and regulation of these proteins an essential area of research in cancer, male fertility and neurodegeneration. One of the ultimate goals for of our research is to be able to specifically regulate the expression of potentially beneficial selenoproteins in vivo. In order to achieve this goal, we must understand all of the factors that contribute not only to the basic selenocysteine incorporation reaction but also to the regulation of this process. We have recently adopted a zebrafish animal model to study the regulatory networks that link oxidative stress to selenoprotein synthesis. This will allow unprecedented access to the molecular links between dietary selenium and the protection of organisms from cellular insults.