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News contact: Steve McGregor, UTD, (972) 883-2293, smcgreg@utdallas.edu

UTD Biologist Wins $1.29-Million NIH Grant

Gene Research May Provide Insights Into Human Reproduction

Dr. Jeff DeJongRICHARDSON, Texas (June 19, 2003) - Dr. Jeff DeJong, associate professor of molecular and cell biology at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), has won a five-year, $1.29-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research into gene expression, which may provide insights into human reproduction and fertility.

DeJong will study how genes are packaged in the nucleus of cells and, in particular, how the packaging status changes as immature germ cells become mature cells.

A gene is a hereditary unit that determines a particular characteristic in an organism. Genes are pieces of Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.

DeJong's research also will:

  • Attempt to determine what protein factors are associated with DNA and how those factors affect whether a particular gene is active or silent.
  • Explore how germ cells are able to "reset" themselves to a state that allows embryonic development to proceed after fertilization.

"The work will focus on cells from reproductive tissues and is expected to give insights into important areas of human health related to reproduction and fertility," said DeJong.

Last month, DeJong won a three-year, $150,000 grant from the Welch Foundation of Houston to conduct research titled, "Biochemical Mechanisms of Germ-Line Gene Regulation."

DeJong holds a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. degree in Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,000 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at http://www.utdallas.edu.


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August 03, 2013