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Internationally Acclaimed Researcher Joins UH Faculty
Date:2/5/2009

n normal and diseased tissues that will have a wide impact across other university departments," said Bert O'Malley, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine and recent recipient of the National Medal of Science.

Here's how nuclear receptors work: Each receptor in the cell's nucleus has a cavity shaped just so that a hormone molecule can fit inside. Once wedded to the hormone, the nuclear receptor's outer surface changes, depending upon the type of hormone housed within. Then, other proteins recognize the receptor's surface structure and join in a chain reaction. This hormone-controlled process influences expression of genetic information and the development and metabolism of an organism.

"Nuclear receptors provide the lock that the key of your hormones fit in. They allow your DNA to be read and expressed. Gustafsson discovered a major estrogen receptor protein and has worked in a variety of application areas, including cancer. We are very fortunate to have him and his team relocating to UH," said B. Montgomery Pettitt, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen distinguished professor in chemistry.

Stuart Dryer, John and Rebecca Moores distinguished professor of biology and chair of UH's department of biology and biochemistry, said Gustafsson and his colleagues will "fit in beautifully with the existing strengths of the department and will provide leadership in a number of new interdisciplinary ventures."

"For me, this is the most exciting thing that has happened at the University of Houston since I arrived 11 years ago," Dryer said.

Gustafsson's research group at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in the mid-1990s discovered the existence of a previously unknown estrogen receptor that plays a pivotal role in the function of the brain, lungs and immune system. Today, drugs are being developed to stimulate that
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SOURCE University of Houston
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