david schneiderProfessor

Research Areas
Ribosome biosynthesis

Research Interests

The ribosome is the molecular machine responsible for all cellular protein synthesis. Due to this central role in gene expression, ribosome synthesis is tightly linked to the rates of cell growth and proliferation. In the Schneider lab, we are focused on defining early steps in ribosome biosynthesis and devising strategies by which ribosome synthesis can be inhibited for therapeutic benefit.

Eukaryotic cells express at least three nuclear RNA polymerases (Pols) and those enzymes have diverged to synthesize the three major classes of RNA (rRNA, mRNA, and tRNA by Pols I, II, and III, respectively). Transcription of the ribosomal DNA by PolI is the first, rate-limiting step in eukaryotic ribosome biosynthesis. We know that the mechanisms that govern Pol I activity are distinct from those of other RNA polymerases, and we are focused on defining those regulatory mechanisms. Currently, we are working hard to define: 1) enzymaticproperties that control Pol I, 2) trans-acting protein factors that influence Pol I activity, 3) therelationship between DNA sequence and Pol I transcription elongation and pausing, and 4) the intimate connection between Pol I transcription elongation and pre-rRNA processing. Understanding all of these properties are fundamentally important to understanding of cell biology.

In addition to its basic scientific value, Pol I transcription is emerging as a target for the development of a new class of anti-cancer chemotherapeutics. At least threelabs have discovered compounds that inhibit Pol I activity and these compounds have performed well in pre-clinical studies. These promising results from groups around the world emphasize the need to understand rRNA synthesis and its regulation. We and others must continue to identify the
fundamental properties that govern rRNA synthesis in model systems and human cancer cells.Understanding how Pol I works will directly promote efforts to exploit its vulnerabilities.


Graduate School
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

Postdoctoral Fellowship
University of California-Irvine


McCallum Basic Health Science Building
Room 412
1918 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294-0005

(205) 934-4781


Committed to exploring new frontiers in basic and translational research.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is an integral part of the vibrant biomedical research community at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). UAB ranks among the top public institutions of higher education in terms of research and training awards. Research conducted by the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is currently supported by more than $4.3 million per year in extramural, investigator-initiated grants.


The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics carries out cutting-edge basic and translational research. Research strengths in the department includes cancer biology, chromatin and epigenetic signaling, metabolism and signaling, regulation of gene expression, structural biology, DNA synthesis and repair, and disease mechanisms.


Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics are trained to carry out hypothesis-driven research using advanced research techniques. This training will prepare our graduates for a career in not just biomedical research, but also in other diverse fields that require critical thinking. Our faculty also proudly trains professional (MD, DDS, & DO) students, as well as undergraduate students at UAB.

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