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11-03-2011

Hongay Appointed Assistant Professor of Biology at Clarkson University

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/chongay.jpg .]

Cintia F. Hongay has been appointed assistant professor of biology at Clarkson University.

Cintia F. HongayShe received her bachelor of science degree from Suffolk University and her Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Before coming to Clarkson, Hongay was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., and a research associate at Harvard. She was also a lecturer at Suffolk and a teaching assistant at Harvard.

Her research interests include how cells switch to meiosis, the cell division that creates eggs, sperm or spores, and how this switch evolved from yeast to humans.

At the very core of this switch is the mysterious IME4 (Inducer of Meiosis 4), a gene required to initiate meiosis in yeast that has evolved additional functions in multicellular organisms, especially in cell fate determination during development.

Among Hongay’s many honors is the Herman and Margaret Sokol Award for the most promising postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute. She also graduated summa cum laude from Suffolk University.

Hongay is the first author in three ground-breaking publications: the first report that linked ergosterol biosynthesis to sensing hypoxia in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the first demonstration of biological function for antisense RNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the first study connecting mRNA methylation to gametogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster.

The antisense RNA study published in Cell was selected as “exceptional” in the prestigious “Faculty of 1000” post-peer review rankings, highlighted in Nature reviews, and has been cited by more than 270 publications since its release. 

In her lab at Clarkson, Hongay will continue to explore the mechanism of action of the evolutionarily conserved RNA methylase IME4 during cell fate determination in development and gametogenesis.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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