Michael P. Terns

Creative Research Medal 2003

Michael P. Terns, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, has contributed to understanding the process of RNA localization and transport. RNAs (ribonucleic acids) serve important roles in cellular function such as gene expression and organismal development. Terns’ research has increased knowledge about RNA movement within the cell through a technique he developed. He fluorescently labeled RNA and microinjected it into frog egg cells. Subsequent visualization of these RNAs led to the discovery of structures and proteins involved in making RNA. The Terns research group is working to translate their findings into applications for anti-cancer therapies and other gene-therapy agents through effective delivery and targeting of specific RNAs.