Faculty Investigator: Christopher Francklyn, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Adjunct Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, gained his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979. He then received his M.A. in 1983 and Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 1988, also from UC- Santa Barbara. He was then an NIH postdoctoral fellow at MIT from 1988-1991 with Paul Schimmel before coming to UVM.
~Susan Robey-Bond, Research Associate
~Adam Mirando, Graduate Student
~Jamie Abbott, Graduate Student
~Prairie Lefebvre, Undergraduate
~Shannon Lozito, Undergraduate
~Sean Bullis, UVM Medical Student
Accepting rotation students: Yes
Major Research Projects: The Francklyn Lab’s research group has been investigating the biology of tRNA and aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) for over two decades. They have made many discoveries in this area in terms of the fundamentals of protein synthesis. Their work has gradually moved into the area of human disease. In collaboration with investigators from Franklin and Marshall College, they are characterizing a mutant version of human histidyl-tRNA synthetase that is genetically linked to type IIIb Usher Syndrome.Secondly, in a collaborative project with Karen Lounsbury (Department of Pharmacology), they discovered a new function for threonyl-tRNA synthetase in angiogenesis and tumor metastasis. In additional to Dr. Lounsbury, they have recruited a broad team of researchers to investigate this problem, including experts in immunobiology (Matt Poynter, Department of Medicine), zebrafish (Alicia Ebert, Department of Biology), and microRNAs (Jane Lian). Through these efforts, they will establish the role of TARS in tumor growth and metastasis, and explore its potential as a molecular biomarker for prostate cancer diagnosis. As part of the Threonyl-tRNA synthetase project, they are collaborating with surgeons in the FAHC Urology clinic (Drs. Plante and Perrapato) to examine the expression of their enzyme in prostate cancer patients.
Exciting News in the Francklyn Lab: They have had a great experience developing new collaborations, and are excited to learn that they can study ARS related diseases in zebrafish. In collaboration with Dr. Alicia Ebert of Biology, they are developing an exciting new model.