Dr. Perry Howard

Dr. Perry Howard
Associate Professor and Chair of the Department
Biochemistry and Microbiology

BSc (Waterloo), PhD (Toronto)

Area of expertise

RNA processing in stem cells, regulation of Pax6 by miRNA, rewiring of tyrosine pathway in cancer.

Research interests

My work focusses on understanding at the molecular level processes governing cellular decision making and how those processes are subverted in human diseases. More recently, my lab has also been working on how to translate this basic scientific discovery into treatments for human conditions such as blindness and malignancy. This work has been funded through various sources including NSERC, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Cancer Research Society, and the Sharon Stewart Trust.

The life of an RNAPII RNA is highly coordinated from the beginning of transcription to degradation. This coordination of recruitment, assembly, disassembly of RNA-protein complexes plays a critical role in cellular responses to stress and underpins many pathological processes. My lab discovered a gene, called Ars2 (gene), which is a nexus for RNAPII RNA processing and turnover. Through my NSERC funded program, we have led in the characterization of the biological roles of ARS2 and how it functions. We are currently focussed on the role of ARS2 in nonsense mediated decay and ER stress caused by arsenic treatment. The long term goal of my research program is to address the complete role of ARS2 in RNAPII transcript lifecycle.