Marquette biologist receives $900,000 National Science Foundation grant to study cell biology research

August 3, 2018

MILWAUKEE — Dr. Rosemary A. Stuart, a Marquette University professor of biological sciences, has received a $900,000 National Science Foundation grant for cell biology research, studying the function and regulation of mitochondrial ribosomes.

Mitochondria are commonly referred to as the "powerhouse" of the cell because they produce the energy carrying molecule ATP through a process called aerobic respiration. Mitochondrial ribosomes are responsible for synthesizing essential protein elements of the enzymes that synthesize ATP.

The project seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial ribosome activity, and has important implications for cellular ATP production. Defects in the mitochondrial ribosomal function can impact an organism's capacity for energy production and clinically has been linked to diverse neurological and muscular diseases, including cardiomyopathies.

Stuart credits the award to the hard work and successes of her research team, which includes a lab research associate, graduate and undergraduate students.

"Our research team has made significant progress in this project over the past three years and had acquired compelling preliminary data, which directly supported the success of our renewal grant application," Stuart said. "The award seeks to advance STEM discovery while promoting hands-on learning and training in the laboratory."

Stuart believes the study will further the understanding of mitochondrial bioenergetics and the function and evolution of ribosomal systems. The grant funds the research of her lab research associate and a graduate student, in addition to undergraduate student researchers.

Professional development opportunities to aid students with career and/or graduate school preparedness, with a focus on women, underrepresented minority and first-generation students, will also be promoted through this award.