Since grade school you have been taught that the process of protein synthesis involves the ribosome decoding mRNA into protein, starting at a 'start codon', reading the message 3 nucleotides at time, and finishing at a 'stop codon'. Emerging research shows that exceptions to these rules play a critical role in controlling gene expression. Structured pieces of RNA can 'program' ribosomes to slip on mRNAs or bypass a 'stop codon' to produce different proteins.

Programmed -1 ribosomal frameshifting (-1PRF) and termination codon readthrough (TCR) are molecular mechanisms used to control gene expression in viruses. These mechanisms allow viruses to control at which stage of infection to express certain genes, as well as control the ratios of proteins necessary for viral particle formation and infectivity.

The Dr. Jonathan Dinman laboratory at University of Maryland has been working on -1 PRF for the last 15 years. Several -1 PRF and TCR signals have been predicted in viruses. Our team will clone these signals into reporters so we can determine if they are functional. The Dinman laboratory will follow up this work with studies on structure, and work with collaborators in order to lay the foundation for the development of live attenuated vaccines against these viruses.

Our stream will provide you with all the tools and training necessary to accomplish our goal. The Found in Translation stream will train you on molecular biology, cloning, sequencing, cell culture, dual reporter assays, and statistical data analysis. Though no research outcome is ever guaranteed, it is our goal that the data collected in this research stream will be published with the names of all participating students listed as authors.

2018 Found In Translation Innovation & Research Stream

2017 Found In Translation Innovation & Research Stream

2016 Found In Translation Innovation & Research Stream

2015 Found In Translation Innovation & Research Stream

Faculty Advisor
Dr. Jonathan Dinman

Research Educator
Dr. Carol Vieira