Environmental Factor, March 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NCSU to Host Grantee Peter Thomas
By Eddy Ball
NIEHS grantee (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/portfolio/sc/detail.cfm?appl_id=7448572) Peter Thomas, Ph.D., is scheduled to present a seminar March 26 on "Characteristics of a Putative Steroid Membrane Receptor," as part of the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Department of Biology Seminar Series. Hosted by NCSU Department of Zoology Professor Russell Borski, Ph.D., the talk will begin at 4:00 p.m. in 101 David Clark Labs on the NCSU campus (http://www.ncsu.edu/campus_map/north.htm) .
Thomas is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), which is located in Port Aransas on the southern Texas Gulf coast. His research group studies fish reproductive physiology and marine environmental toxicology and stressors. His NIEHS grant is an extension of his earlier research on endocrine disruption in two marine perciform models of teleost reproduction, spotted seatrout and Atlantic croaker.
Thomas is studying the mechanisms of nonclassical steroid actions mediated by a novel family of putative membrane progesterone (P4) receptors (mPRs) his group recently discovered in human cells and their functional significance in health and disease. With his current studies, Thomas plans to characterize previously unrecognized multiple signaling cascades initiated by progesterone activation of mPRs that are likely involved in functional progesterone withdrawal in women at term, shifting the balance from a quiescent state to a contractile one. This activation of mPRs has implications in terms of preterm birth - a major medical problem that occurs with 12 percent of births.