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Deborah L. Hodge, Ph.D.

Portait Photo of Deborah Hodge
Laboratory of Experimental Immunology
Cellular and Molecular Immunology Section
Staff Scientist
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Bldg. 560, Rm 31-16
P.O. Box B
Frederick, MD 21702-1201
301 846 6501
301 846 1673


Dr. Hodge completed a B.S. in both chemistry and biology at Shepherd College in 1991 and earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from West Virginia University in 1997. Upon completion of graduate school, Dr. Hodge joined the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Young. In 2002, Dr. Hodge accepted the position of staff scientist and has continued to perform research at NCI-Frederick since that time. The focus of her research is the molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression in natural killer cells. In particular, Dr. Hodge is interested in the transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms that control interferon gamma, a pleiotropic cytokine that is a major regulator of immune function.


Studies on interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) expression have concluded that regulation of this protein is complex and involves both transcriptional regulation of the IFN-gamma gene as well as post-transcriptional control of the IFN-gamma mRNA. Of these control mechanisms, posttranscriptional regulation is the least understood. Early studies performed in our laboratory have shown that IL-12 in combination with IL-2 stabilizes IFN-gamma mRNA expression. We have extended that observation and found that one mechanism by which IL-12 controls IFN-gamma mRNA expression involves nuclear retention of preexisting IFN-gamma transcripts. This retention is relieved in response to secondary stimulation and results in rapid nucleo-cytoplasmic shutting of the IFN-gamma mRNA with subsequent protein synthesis. Our current work has focused on close examination of the IFN-gamma mRNA for potential cis-acting elements responsible for regulation of the mRNA. We are particularly interested in the 3’untranslated region of the IFN-gamma mRNA that contains multiple AU-rich elements. These elements are currently being investigated for their regulatory potential.

This page was last updated on 4/9/2014.