In addition to her planned research activities with Florida State students, McGinnis will participate in the university's existing programs for pre-college students statewide who are considering science careers.
She also will work with undergraduates who aspire to become K-12 science teachers.
"It is amazing to receive this level of support from the National Science Foundation for the development of my research program and educational goals over the next five years," McGinnis said. "Now, I can lead a series of experiments that will allow us to continue and expand my laboratory's ongoing research on gene expression in maize.
"The goal of those experiments is to determine how gene expression is regulated by what we call 'epigenetic factors' factors other than the actual sequence of genes," she said.
During gene expression in living organisms, DNA sequences get converted into RNA messenger molecules, and then into proteins and other molecules that create the physical characteristics, or phenotype, of the organism. If gene expression isn't properly regulated, it disturbs development, and can cause a wide range of diseases and disorders.
"In my lab, we study different ways that DNA and RNA interact to regulate gene expression, and how these relationships influence the organization and modification of DNA in the nucleus of cells, which can also, in turn, influence gene expression," McGinnis said. "All of this has the potential to become a preserved characteristic of the genetic information of the cell, and to become part of the information that is inherited, by maize and by othe
|Contact: Karen McGinnis|
Florida State University