Kate Meyer

2016 Regional Award Finalist — Post-Doc

Kate Meyer

Current Position:
Assistant Professor

Institution:
Duke University (Previously at Weill Cornell Medical College)

Discipline:
Molecular & Cellular Biology

Recognized for: Work that enhances our understanding of RNA biology and N6-methyladenosine (m6A) in mRNAs

Areas of Research Interest: RNA biology, epigenetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, neurobiology

Biography:

PhD, Neuroscience, Northwestern University
BS, Biopsychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Michigan

For a long time, RNAs have been thought to be composed of four bases: A, G, C, and U. Studies in the 1970s provided the first hints that modified bases may also exist, but because these bases are hard to detect, the question of whether they were a prevalent feature of the transcriptome remained a mystery for the next forty years.  In 2012, Dr. Meyer showed for the first time that thousands of cellular RNAs contain a fifth base called m6A, which occurs when adenosine residues become methylated. These studies revealed a new layer of RNA regulation and helped spawn an entire field of study into the nature of the “epitranscriptome.”

More recently, Dr. Meyer’s research found that m6A residues located in distinct regions of a transcript can promote a unique form of translation initiation which is important during the cellular stress response.  Since stress response pathways have been implicated in several human diseases, future research into the mechanisms through which m6A controls gene expression may identify novel pathways that can be targeted therapeutically.

My ultimate goal is to make discoveries that further our understanding of RNA regulation and function, with the hope of uncovering novel pathways that contribute to human health and disease.”

Key Publications: 

  1. Meyer KD, Patil DP, Zhou J, Zinoviev A, Skabkin MA, Elemento O, Pestova TV, Qian S, Jaffrey SR. 5'UTR m6A promotes cap-independent translation. Cell. 2015
  2. Meyer KD, Jaffrey SR. The dynamic epitranscriptome: N6-methyladenosine and gene expression control. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 2014
  3. Hess ME, Hess S, Meyer KD, Verhagen LA, Koch L, Brönneke HS, Dietrich MO, Jordan SD, Saletore Y, Elemento O, Belgardt BF, Franz T, Horvath TL, Rüther U, Jaffrey SR, Kloppenburg P, Brüning JC. The fat mass and obesity associated gene (Fto) regulates activity of the dopaminergic midbrain circuitry. Nature Neuroscience. 2013
  4. Meyer KD, Saletore Y, Zumbo P, Elemento O, Mason CE, Jaffrey SR.  Comprehensive analysis of mRNA methylation reveals pervasive adenosine methylation in 3’ UTRs.  Cell. 2012

Other Honors:

2016       Tri-Institutional Breakout Prize for Junior Investigators, Weill Cornell Medicine
2015       NIH Small Business Technology Transfer Award, NIDA