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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Michael B. Mathews, Ph.D.


Cancer Research Center (CANCT)
195 South Orange Avenue Room F1220

Phone: (973) 972-3133
Fax: (973) 972-2668



Michael B. Mathews received his BA and PhD degrees in Natural Sciences / Biochemistry from the University of
Cambridge. After a year of voluntary service teaching in Kenya, he began his research career under the mentorship of
Prof. Asher Korner in the universities of Cambridge and Sussex, England. His thesis was entitled ‘Viral RNA and
Mammalian Protein Synthesis’. Dr. Mathews was a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Fred Sanger’s department at the MRC
Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, and a Research Associate with Dr. Gordon Tomkins at the University of
California–San Francisco. He moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, where he established a research
group and held a series of positions over a period of more than twenty years. Dr. Mathews joined UMDNJ–New Jersey
Medical School as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in 1996. He has received local,
national and international grants and awards, served as journal editor and on numerous editorial boards and review
panels, organized international symposia, and promoted several research initiatives at UMDNJ. He trains both
students and post-doctoral fellows in his laboratory. He is an authority on protein synthesis and virus-host cell
interactions, and has published over 150 research articles, as well as scientific reviews and books. His current
research focuses on HIV, RNA-binding proteins and regulatory RNAs.



Ph.D., 1970, Cambridge University




Relevant Publications:

Hanauske-Abel HM, Saxena D, Palumbo PE, Hanauske AR, Luchessi AD, Cambiaghi TD, Hoque M, Spino M, Gandolfi DD, Heller DS, Singh S, Park MH, Cracchiolo BM, Tricta F, Connelly J, Popowicz AM, Cone RA, Holland B, Pe'ery T, Mathews MB. Drug-Induced Reactivation of Apoptosis Abrogates HIV-1 Infection. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 23;8(9):e74414. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074414. PMID: 24086341
Hershey JW, Sonenberg N, Mathews MB. Principles of translational control: an overview. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2012 Dec 1;4(12). doi:pii: a011528. 10.1101/cshperspect.a011528. PubMed PMID: 23209153.
Walsh D, Mathews MB, Mohr I. Tinkering with Translation: Protein Synthesis in Virus-Infected Cells. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2012 Dec 3. doi:pii: cshperspect.a012351v1. 10.1101/cshperspect.a012351. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23209131.
Shamanna RA, Hoque M, Pe'ery T, Mathews MB. Induction of p53, p21 and apoptosis by silencing the NF90/NF45 complex in human papilloma virus-transformed cervical carcinoma cells. Oncogene. 2013 Oct 24;32(43):5176-85. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.533. Epub 2012 Dec 3. PMID: 23208500
Shamanna RA, Hoque M, Lewis-Antes A, Azzam EI, Lagunoff D, Pe'ery T, Mathews MB. The NF90/NF45 complex participates in DNA break repair via nonhomologous end joining. Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Dec;31(23):4832-43. doi: 10.1128/MCB.05849-11. Epub 2011 Oct 3. PubMed PMID: 21969602; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3232927.
Hoque M, Shamanna RA, Guan D, Pe'ery T, Mathews MB. HIV-1 replication and latency are regulated by translational control of cyclin T1. J Mol Biol. 2011 Jul 29;410(5):917-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2011.03.060. PubMed PMID: 21763496; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3164259
Parrott AM, Sriram G, Liu Y, Mathews MB. Expression of type II chorionic gonadotropin genes supports a role in the male reproductive system. Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Jan;31(2):287-99. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00603-10. Epub 2010 Nov 15. PubMed PMID: 21078876; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3019977.
Parrott AM, Tsai M, Batchu P, Ryan K, Ozer HL, Tian B, Mathews MB. The evolution and expression of the snaR family of small non-coding RNAs. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Mar;39(4):1485-500. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq856. Epub 2010 Oct 8. PubMed PMID: 20935053; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3045588.
Hoque M, Mathews MB, Pe'ery T. Progranulin (granulin/epithelin precursor) and its constituent granulin repeats repress transcription from cellular promoters. J Cell Physiol. 2010 Apr;223(1):224-33. doi: 10.1002/jcp.22031. PubMed PMID: 20054825; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2904068.
Hoque M, Hanauske-Abel HM, Palumbo P, Saxena D, D'Alliessi Gandolfi D, Park MH, Pe'ery T, Mathews MB. Inhibition of HIV-1 gene expression by Ciclopirox and Deferiprone, drugs that prevent hypusination of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A. Retrovirology. 2009 Oct 13;6:90. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-6-90. PubMed PMID: 19825182; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2770518.


Current Research

Regulatory RNAs; RNA–protein interactions; Novel targets for anti-HIV drugs

1. Regulatory RNAs. In addition to their familiar roles (e.g., in translation), RNA molecules serve a variety of other
functions in cells. We recently discovered a new class of small RNAs called snaR that are restricted to a few tissues
(notably including testis and brain). Remarkably, snaRs are found only in humans and the great apes. Present work is
aimed at understanding the functions and significance of these RNAs.

2. RNA–protein interactions. The double-stranded RNA binding domain (dsRBD) is found in proteins present in all
kingdoms of life, especially in higher eukaryotes. These proteins bind to a diverse group of structured RNA ligands
and play pivotal roles in the cell, for example in infection, immunity and development. Together with Dr. Bin Tian
(Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), we are using state-of-the-art methods including deep sequencing
and bioinformatics to study biologically relevant in vivo RNA ligands, explore their sequence and structure features,
and define the biological networks in which they function.

3. Novel targets for anti-HIV drugs. The cellular protein eIF5A is abundant and highly conserved through evolution,
but its function is not well defined. It carries a modified amino acid called hypusine that has not been found in any
other protein. Drugs that prevent hypusine formation can block HIV infection. The drugs change the expression of
cellular proteins, by increasing the level of certain mRNAs and reducing the translation of others. We are exploring
how eIF5A and these drugs affect cells and interfere with viral infection.



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