Richard Gomer got a B.A. degree in Physics from Pomona College and a Ph.D. degree in biology from Caltech. He was an HHMI Investigator for 15 years and is a Professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University. Our laboratory is working on two areas of biomedicine. First, we are studying how the size of tissues and tumors are regulated, and how this can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes. As a model system, we are using the simple eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum, which allows us to combine techniques such as biochemistry, genetics, computer modeling, and cell biology to study tissue size regulation. We have found that a secreted protein is the signal in a negative feedback loop that inhibits Dictyostelium cell proliferation, and we are studying the signal transduction pathway to understand similar mechanisms in humans. Second, we have found that a human blood protein called serum amyloid P (SAP) regulates a key step in the formation of scar tissue as well as the formation of the scar-like lesions in fibrosing diseases such as congestive heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis. We are studying this mechanism, as well as working with two biotech companies to develop a new wound-healing material and a therapy for fibrosing diseases, both based on manipulating SAP levels.
Biography Updated on 3 February 2011