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Dr. Michael Gregory Abel

Greg Abel realized his love for teaching in high school as a tutor for his fellow classmates. He continued on as a student mentor and research assistant at Southwest Texas State where he studied for a year before transferring to Texas A&M University. Greg completed a bachelor’s of science degree in Microbiology at A&M and was accepted to the graduate program at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville working in the yeast genetics laboratory of Jeffrey Becker, Ph.D.

While at the University of Tennessee, Greg taught many courses in a variety of subject areas. “One of the most satisfying aspects of my graduate work was the interaction with my students. I found that striving to becoming a great teacher was just as important as striving to become a great researcher”. “The fascination with science and love of teaching are the main reasons I sought out a faculty position with Huston-Tillotson University”.

Areas of research while at UT (the other one) included the study of pheromone regulation and signal transduction between yeast that led the coordination of cell cycles in preparation for mating. This is accomplished through a pheromone interaction with a plasma membrane integrated 7-transmembrane receptor. “The elegance and complexity of these molecular events just reinforced my love for discovery”. “What takes place inside a cell is truly awe inspiring”. Greg was awarded a doctorate in Microbiology in 1996 and continued his studies as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Kathryn Horwitz, Ph.D. at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, CO.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Greg moved up on the food chain and began studying hormone regulation of gene transcription by the human transcription factor, the progesterone receptor. The progesterone receptor in regulated by interactions with progesterone and itself regulates transcription by binding to the promoter regions of targeted genes. Specifically, Greg studied the mechanisms of this gene regulation as it related to breast and uterine cancers. “Many women (and a small fraction of men) who develop breast cancer tumors will be administered anti-hormones such as tamoxifen or reloxifen to combat the tumor growth. However, after a few years the anti-hormone treatments become ineffective. I studied the molecular mechanisms of that reversion from anti-hormone responsive to non-responsive tumors.”

After four years in Dr. Horwtiz’s lab, Greg was promoted to junior faculty and was also hired as an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Pharmacy. “I was able to continue teaching during my postdoctoral years and always had high school and college students working as interns on my research projects.” “I truly enjoy inspiring new scientists both at the bench and in the classroom!”

While always striving to learn something new everyday, Greg enjoys “smelling the roses” as well. “I try to keep fit with running and swimming and really enjoy golfing, billiards and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.” “The best workout program I have found however is trying to keep up with my children…they have an unbounded amount of energy that wears me out and keeps me young at the same time.”


No photo available
Role: Assistant Professor of Biology
Phone: 512.505.6438
Office: Dickey-Lawless 306A