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Rebeka Merson

Fogarty Life Science (FLS)
(401) 456-8010
(401) 456-8906

Academic Background

Ph.D., University of Rhode Island

Courses Taught

BIOL 103 Human Biology
BIOL 450 Topics
BIOL 491 Problems in Biology
BIOL 492 Problems in Biology
BIOL 493 Problems in Biology
BIOL 494 Problems in Biology
BIOL 550 Topics
BIOL 560 Graduate Seminar
BIOL 651 Advanced Topics in Biology
BIOL 692 Directed Research

Research Interests

I study molecular pathways involved in environmental chemical stress. Many toxic effects depend on binding and activation of intracellular receptor proteins, which also act as transcription factors. By focusing on structural and functional diversity of these receptors and their regulation among wide ranging vertebrate taxa, I aim to reveal mechanisms of toxicity and relationships between target genes and species sensitivity to chemical exposure.


Merson, R. R., S. I., Karchner & M. E. Hahn. 2009. Interaction of fish aryl hydrocarbon receptor paralogs (AHR1 and AHR2) with the retinoblastoma protein. Aquatic Toxicology 94:47-55.

Merson, R. R., C. J. Mattingly & A. J. Planchart. 2009. Tandem duplication of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) genes in the genome of the spiny dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias). Bulletin of the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory 48:43-44.

Peijun L., D. E. Pazin, R. R. Merson, K. H. Albrecht & C. Vaziri. 2009. The developmentally-regulated Smoc2 gene Is repressed by aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) signaling. Gene 433(1-2):72-80.

Albanese, A. & R. R. Merson. 2008. Cloning of beta-actin in early diverging vertebrate little skate (Leucoraja erinacea) for use as a reference gene in real-time PCR. Journal of Young Investigators. 19 (5).

Hahn, M. E., S. I. Karchner, B. R. Evans, D. G. Franks, R. R. Merson & J. M. Lapseritis. 2006. Unexpected diversity of aryl hydrocarbon receptors in non-mammalian vertebrates: Insights from comparative genomics. Journal of Experimental Zoology 305A:693-706.

Merson, R. R., S. I. Karchner, D. G. Franks & M. E. Hahn. 2005. Development and characterization of polyclonal antibodies against the aryl hydrocarbon receptor protein family (AHR1, AHR2, and AHR repressor) of Atlantic killifish Fundulus heteroclitus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C, Toxicology & Pharmacology 142:85-94.

Merson, R. R. & H. L. Pratt, Jr. 2005. Sandbar shark nurseries in New Jersey and NewYork: Evidence of the northern pupping grounds along the United States east coast. In: Shark Nursery Grounds of the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast waters of the United States. C. McCandless, N. Kohler, eds. American Fisheries Society Book (in press).

Yang, X., Liu, D., Murray, T. J., Mitchell, G. C., Hestermann, E. V., Karchner, S. I., Merson, R. R., Hahn, M. E., & Sherr, D. H. 2005. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor constitutively represses c-myc transcription in human mammary tumor cells. Oncogene 24:7869-7881.

Hahn, M. E., R. R. Merson & S. I. Karchner. 2005. Xenobiotic receptors in fish: Structural and functional diversity and evolutionary insights. In: Biochemical and Molecular Biology of Fishes Volume 6 Environmental Toxicology. T. W. Moon, T. P. Mommson, eds. pp. 191-228.

Hahn, M. E., S. I. Karchner, D. G. Franks & R. R. Merson. 2004. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor polymorphisms and dioxin resistance in Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus). Pharmacogenetics. 14:131-143.

Deegan, L. A., A. Wright, S. G. Ayvazian, J. T. Finn, H. Golden, R. R. Merson & J. Harrison. 2002. Nitrogen loading alters seagrass ecosystem structure and support of higher trophic levels. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 12:193-212.

Merson, R. R. & H. L. Pratt, Jr. 2001. Distribution, movements and growth of young sandbar sharks in Delaware Bay. Environmental Biology of Fishes 61:13-24.

Merson. R. R., C. Casey, C. Martinez, B. Soffientino, M. Chandlee & J. L. Specker. 2000. Oocyte development in summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus): Seasonal changes and steroid correlates. Journal of Fish Biology 57:182-196.

Page last updated: September 30, 2011