Marlon Lawrence, Ph.D.


Biological Sciences 2010

Area of Doctoral Study: Biological Sciences
Undergraduate Institute: Mount St. Mary’s College

Research Advisor: Janice Zengal, Ph.D.

Current Position: Staff Scientist, Georgia Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Description of Research

Protein synthesis is an essential part of life that takes place in all organisms.  The act of protein synthesis is accomplished by means of the ribosome, a macromolecular ribonucleoprotein (RNP).  The ribosome’s essential role in the process of life makes understanding its function an important question for basic research.

I am currently examining mutations in ribosomal proteins as well as modifications to rRNA (ribosomal RNA) to determine their effects on various aspects of ribosome function.  In particular I am currently focused on a process known as translational attenuation.  This is a process by which the amino acid sequence of a peptide, in the act of being synthesized, is responsible for stalling translation of the ribosome by which it is being translated.  This phenomenon of translational attenuation is often associated with regulating the expression of other proteins involved in various processes including: antibiotic resistance, protein export, and various metabolic reactions.