Faculty & Staff Directory

Dawn Richiert

Photo of Dawn Richiert

Email
richierd@gvsu.edu

Title
Associate Professor

Office
221 Padnos Hall

Phone
616-331-8708

Fax
616-331-2090

Office Hours

See available times here, or by appointment.

Courses Taught

BMS 202L - Lab in Human Physiology
BMS 208 - Human Anatomy
BMS 309 - Human Cadaver Lab
BMS 450/550 - Human Histology
BMS 460L - Regional Human Anatomy

Education/Training

Research Associate, City University of New York, 2000 - 2004
Post-doctoral fellow, National Eye Institute, NIH, 1996 - 2000.
Ph.D. Wayne State University School of Medicine, 1996
B.S. (Biology) Oakland University, Rochester, MI, 1985

Research Interests

Research in my lab examines the underlying biochemical and molecular processes that regulate the physiological state of a cell. In other words, we want to understand how a cell knows what it is suppose to do and what triggers a cell to change its behavior. More specifically, we do vision research using the ocular lens as our scientific model. The lens is a remarkable tissue in that lens cells continually divide and differentiate throughout the entire life of an organism; yet every cell is retained, remaining tightly packed within the lens capsule. These ongoing processes are ideal for studying normal development and aging as well as pathological states such as cataract formation.

Our research is focused on the effects of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-²) on the terminal differentiation of chick lens cells. In culture, TGF-² stimulates these cells to produce and deposit extracellular matrix proteins as well as to secrete and activate various matrix metalloproteinases, enzymes involved in the degradation, and modification of matrix proteins. Therefore, in vivo, TGF-² may be a major factor controlling lens cell migration along the capsule. Clinically, manipulation of TGF-² concentrations within the eye could possibly inhibit the migration of lens cells and thus conceivably prevent secondary cataract formation following intra-ocular lens implantation.

We use cultured chick lens cells treated with multiple concentrations of TGF-² to examine the induction of gene expression of various extracellular proteins, metalloproteinases, and integrins. We also want to investigate intercellular proteins involved in the TGF-² signaling pathway. Techniques used in the lab include: tissue culture, protein and DNA isolation, PCR, enzyme activity assays, zymography, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and western blotting.

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