Randall H. Morse
After graduate studies on EPR and optical spectroscopy of metalloproteins in the lab of Dr. Sunney Chan at Caltech, Dr. Morse transitioned from biophysical chemistry to molecular biology as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University with Dr. Charles Cantor (1981-86), where he conducted biochemical studies on chromatin structure. He then moved to the National Institutes of Health, where he learned yeast genetics and investigated nucleosome positioning and chromatin function in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Simpson (1986-93). He continued studies on chromatin function using yeast as a model in his own lab at the Wadsworth Center beginning in 1993, and joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences in 1994. His lab was one of the first to demonstrate that certain proteins function mainly to exclude nucleosomes from functionally important sites in genomic DNA, using both focused and genome-wide approaches.
Current research is focused on the Mediator complex. Mediator is a large, multi-subunit complex that is conserved across the eukaryotic kingdom and plays a critical role in transcriptional activation of mRNA-encoding genes. Recent studies in the Morse lab have employed ChIP-seq and bioinformatic approaches in combination with yeast genetics to reveal that in yeast, Mediator is recruited to many genes by activator proteins via subunits in its tail module, while interactions between the basic transcription machinery (TBP, TBP-associated factors, and Pol II) are also important for Mediator association with active gene promoters. We also collaborate with Joan Curcio’s lab to study the role of Mediator in Ty1 retrotransposition in yeast.
- Mechanisms of transcriptional regulation by the Mediator complex
- Role of Mediator in Ty1 retrotransposition in yeast
- Genes and genomes