1) Understanding the molecular program of spermatogenesis. This includes investigation into the expression and function of several mouse spermatogenic genes as well as a bioinformatic study aimed at obtaining a more general view of the molecular program of meiosis. Specifically we focus on the Meig1, Atce1 and Aym1 genes. Based on our previous results we hypothesize that Meig1 is involved in safeguarding DNA integrity especially during meiotic recombination and lymphocytes DNA rearrangement. Atce1 encodes a potent transcription factor which structurally belongs to the CREB/ATF family. Intriguingly, this transcription factor localizes specifically to the spermatozoa's acrosome where it stays anchored to the inner membrane even after acrosome reaction has taken place. This suggests that ATCE1 might play a role in the newly formed zygote, possibly as a paternally delivered transcription factor. This might ensure that zygotic genome activation awaits fertilization. Aym1 was identified in a screen for mouse genes that could activate early yeast meiotic genes in ime1 mutant yeast cells. Aym1 is expressed in A3 spermatogonial cell suggesting it might be involved in the decision of spermatogonial cells to enter meiosis.
2) The role of human Pim2 in cancer and anti cancer processes. Goal: Elucidating the molecular regulation and role of hPim2 during cancerous transformation that leads to lymphomas and during Pim-2 dependent apoptotic death of transformed cells.