Grants in Aid of Research Recipient Profile: Dominic Mier

December 22, 2020

Grant: $1,000 in Spring 2019GAIR recipient Dominic Mier

Education level at time of the grant: Graduate student 

Research Discipline: Cell Biology/Biochemistry

Project Description: In the lab Dominic studies the minor spliceosome. The spliceosome is in charge of removing noncoding introns from RNA and joining the remaining exons, forming a mature transcript that can be properly translated to protein. The minor spliceosome specifically removes U12 introns, a small subsection making up less than 0.5% of all introns in an organism. Research on the minor spliceosome has shed light on several human diseases in recent years, highlighting the importance of further insight into its components. Dominic’s research question involved investigating the role a specific protein, ARMC7, played in the minor spliceosome. Dominic and his team identified a mutant that seemed to be caused by an insertion into the ARMC7 gene locus, but mapping wasn’t able to confirm precisely where the causative mutation was. After receiving the grant funding, they were able to design a CRISPR-Cas9 system to attempt to partially knock out ARMC7 function, which would allow them to investigate its role. There have yet to be any mutants recovered, but they have moved into further characterization by investigating what proteins ARMC7 may interact with. He hopes this will give him further insight into the role it plays in the cell.

How has the project influenced Dominic as a scientist?: 
“This project has really fostered my growth as a scientist,” Dominic says. This was his first big project. “It taught me a lot about research, but also the fortitude necessary in a research environment,” he states. 

Where is he now?:
Dominic is currently wrapping up his graduate studies. He has begun searching for jobs and is excited about all the opportunities he may have to contribute to research in the field of biology.

Students may apply for Sigma Xi research grants by March 15 and October 1 annually at

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