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Dr. Fagg of the UTMB Department of Surgery and Transplant Division Receives $2M NIH MIRA R35 Grant to Study How RNA Processing is Regulated by Quaking

Jul 31, 2023, 15:46 PM by UTMB Surgery

UTMB Department of Surgery Assistant Professor, Clinical and Translational Sciences Association of the Institute of Translational Sciences KL2 Scholar, and John L. Hearn Endowed University Chair of Transplant Surgery, Dr. W. Sam Fagg, M.S., Ph.D. has received a prestigious 5-year, $2M grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant, known as the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), aims to support exceptional researchers like Dr. Fagg who have a proven record of accomplishment in research productivity.  

Dr. Fagg’s research will focus on understanding the mechanistic details through which Quaking (an RNA binding protein) regulates RNA processing. His group’s specific focus will be on exploring how competition for Quaking (QKI) protein’s regulatory functions can be modulated during various cellular transitory states such as those observed during human development or into disease states. By illuminating the details of these regulatory mechanisms, Dr, Fagg’s lab hopes to be able to inform rational biologic drug development that will help patients suffering from heart and liver disease.  

The MIRA grant provides stable funding over an extended period, enabling Dr. Fagg to pursue this ambitious scientific project with continuity and efficiency. This grant recognizes Dr. Fagg’s dedication to scientific inquiry, which he was able to obtain in part due to his previous funding through the Institute of Translational Sciences KL2 award. The KL2 provides training for early-stage investigators, and since receiving the R35 MIRA grant, Dr. Fagg will relinquish the KL2. Additional generous support was provided by The Department of Surgery through research endowment support and Dr. Fagg having secured a departmental pilot project research grant.  

Dr. Fagg would like to thank The Department of Surgery and the Institute of Translational Sciences for their support, without which the larger extramural grant would not have been possible. He and the UTMB Division of Surgical Sciences within the Department of Surgery would like to thank the NIH for this generous grant in support of advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms through which RNA processing is regulated and how this impacts stem cell biology and heart and liver disease.  

View the Transplant Research Group Lab page here

View Dr. Fagg's ResearchExperts profile here

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number R35GM151324.