University professor publishes research on SARM defects

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Chad Sethman

Dr. Chad Sethman, assistant professor of biology at Waynesburg University, recently contributed to a report stating that SARM, one of five innate immunity adaptors, stabilizes cell proteins and protects the nucleus from self-destructing during stress brought on by inflammation in response to various types of infections.

“This work has provided me with advanced technical and conceptual experience in the fields of microbiology, immunology, cell biology, molecular biology and genetics that I can share with my students in various courses,” said Sethman. “Eventually, I would like to obtain more advanced equipment at Waynesburg University so that I can teach the modern techniques in various course labs as well as continue some of the research here at Waynesburg involving students.”

Sethman, along with his research partner, Dr. Jacek Hawiger, distinguished professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, worked for five years on the project at Vanderbilt University. Their report, published last month in PLOS ONE, began with the cloning of the gene into various forms.

“One of these clones was constructed with a fluorescent tag so that I could microscopically track the movement of the SARM gene product throughout the interior of the cell,” said Sethman. “It was during this early experiment that I first discovered that SARM forms a scaffold-like structure within the nucleus of the cell.”

Later, the team discovered that SARM defects may lead to some individuals having inflammatory diseases or developmental/aging diseases. Sethman believes that new understanding of the function will increase developments in drugs and other therapies to counteract diseases caused by abnormalities in the SARM gene.

Sethman, a former postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt, was responsible for the hands-on research, while Hawiger carried out procuring grants in order to fund the research and write the paper.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist