Jeff Meier, MD, Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases, has received a two-year, $356,000 grant from the NIH’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In this collaboration with David Price, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry, Dr. Meier has repurposed new technology and methods typically used to study transcription in human cells to instead study transcription mechanisms in cytomegalovirus (CMV). Drs. Meier and Price hope to identify new therapeutic targets in treating CMV, the leading infectious-cause of birth defects. CMV is also responsible for complications in individuals with immune-compromised systems, such as transplant recipients and people with AIDS.
This methodology is primarily used to study transcription in cancer cells, but Dr. Meier has found its applicability to the herpes virus and combined it with an innovative technology to analyze the transcription process. “By eliminating specific viral proteins that we think are involved in that process, we think that we’ll learn exactly what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.” The R21 grant is a developmental grant, which should serve as a springboard to future studies. Dr. Meier acknowledges and is grateful for the support from a Carver Trust Collaborative Pilot Grant, which allowed them to assemble the preliminary data last year for their NIH proposal. “The generosity of the College,” Dr. Meier says, “made this possible.”