Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Rebeka R Merson
Rebeka R. Merson's photoRebeka R Merson
Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact Information:
Fax: (508) 457-2134

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Research Interests
My postdoctoral research encompasses adaptive and physiological roles of ligand-activated receptors, molecular evolution of gene regulation, and cell cycle control mechanisms. I have focused on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) signaling pathway in early vertebrates to investigate cell cycle control by protein-protein interactions involving the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (pRB), transcriptional regulation of the cell death mediator (Bax gene) by AHR, evolution of form and function of AHR genes in cartilaginous fishes, the role of the AHR in gonadal development in bony and cartilaginous fishes, and the susceptibility of marine organisms to the toxicity of aromatic hydrocarbon contaminants.

Approach & Methodology
The context of my work spans several organizational levels from genes to ecosystems and I take a multidisciplinary comparative approach to environmental toxicology through cell biology, endocrinology, reproductive development and anatomy, molecular evolution, genomics, marine ecology and resource conservation.

Methods I most commonly use include polymerase chain reaction (PCR), semi-quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR), protein quantification, in vitro protein production (transcription and translation with 35S-methionine), autoradiography, affinity column protein purification, affinity column antibody purification, sucrose density gradient velocity sedimentation, western immunoblotting, immunoprecipitation and co-immunoprecipitation, and phylogenetic analyses using PAUP, ClustalX, and MacVector software.

University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI
Ph.D. Biological Sciences.
Dissertation: Nursery grounds and maturation of the sandbar shark in the western North Atlantic.
December 1998

Southeastern Massachusetts University North Dartmouth, MA
B. S. Biology, Magna cum laude
September 1991

Sea Education Association Woods Hole, MA
Sea Semester
October 1990 - January 1991

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