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Regulation of Gene Expression: Building Transcriptional Regulatory Complexes

Host: Gail Tucker
Presenter: Karen Lee LaMarco, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelly Lee LaMarco and LaceyPresenter: Dr. Karen Lee LaMarco

Our presenter for this SciTalk is Karen Lee ("Kelly") LaMarco, Ph.D., who has been both a published bench scientist and a science journalist. Dr. LaMarco received her B.A. in 1980 (with high distinction) from the Department of Chemistry at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. She went on to study at the University of Pittsburgh (Department of Biological Sciences) where she obtained her Masters degree working on the "Isolation and characterization of enzymatic activities isolated from pathogens prevalent in Otitis media." From 1982-1986 she worked toward her Ph.D. in the Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh (PA) School of Medicine. Her Doctoral thesis was: "Characterization of a broad-specificity §-glucosidase from liver: speculations on a possible physiologic function." Her postdoctoral work was with Dr. Steven L. McKnight, at the Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, in Baltimore, Maryland. While in his laboratory, she worked on eukaryotic gene regulation.

From 1990-1992 she was an Associate Editor at Science, in Washington, D.C. where she was responsible for selecting manuscripts for formal review, identifying referees for manuscripts and analyzing their reviews. She worked there as part of a team of editors, prioritizing manuscripts for publication, and editing manuscripts for clarity, length, and conformity to Science style. She followed up her post-doctoral work with participation in 1994 in the Cold Spring Harbor Course in Yeast Genetics.

She worked as a Staff Scientist at Tularik, INC. from 1992 to 1996, a company formed to identify drugs that function at the level of gene expression. While at Tularik, where she led an interdepartmental team of scientists and research assistants working on the identification of antimicrobial drug lead compounds; while there she served as a referee for internal project reviews and new project proposals and assisted attorneys in the timely development of patent applications for novel scientific discoveries.

Dr. LaMarco has also worked in education, supervising high school and college students who were summer research assistants in her laboratory. In 1982, she was a research advisor in the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine Minority Program, Summer Research (for local high school students) on the project: "Hydrolase activity in Branhemella catarrhalis culture media and middle ear effusions." From 1983 to 1986 she was a guest lecturer for the March of Dimes Education Program for high school students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she was a research advisor for a number of area high school students. She continued in this mentoring role, working with high school students in the laboratory at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in the1980's.

She has worked both in basic and applied research. Some of her findings have been awarded patents: One (Patent #5-453-362) for HCF protein and gene sequence was issued on September 26, 1995. Another, for RNA polymerase high throughput assay design was issued in July, 1997. Dr. LaMarco has also been an instructor and invited lecturer at several highly respected research conferences such as: the Waksman Institute, Rutgers University (1988) where she was an instructor in a course on in situ detection of sequence specific DNA binding activities specified by a recombinant bacteriophage; the Nucleic Acids Gordon Conference in 1988, where she spoke on "Enhancers-action at a distance"; she presented a cloning course lecture in 1988 at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories; and was an invited speaker in 1989 at the Jacques Monod Conference on Gene Regulation in Roscoff, France. Dr. LaMarco is presently a consultant with Tularik, Inc. She combines her consulting work with her special interests: ballet, drawing and creative writing.

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