Dr. Omar A. Quintero, assistant professor of biology has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health – National Institute for General Medical Services in the amount of $433,070 over three years.  His project, “Myosin-XIX and the Molecular Mechanism of Actin-Based Mitochondrial Organization,” will be carried out in collaboration with Dr. Eva Forgacs, assistant professor of physiological sciences at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Dr. Quintero stated in his proposal, “Mitochondria play critical roles in healthy cellular function, most importantly in the production of energy inside the cell.  These ‘powerhouses’  must be able to move to locations within the cell where energy needs are high, and alterations in these transport mechanisms have been associated with human disease.  Myosin XIX is a motor protein involved in mitochondrial transport, and studying its motor properties will aid in understanding the mitochondrial transport in both human health and disease.”  

Each summer, Dr. Quintero will mentor and work with two University of Richmond undergraduates who will participate in this research. In addition, a full-time post baccalaureate researcher will be part of the team. At EVMS, master’s level students will participate.

Having taught at the University of Richmond since 2011, Dr. Quintero completed his B.S. degree at Penn State and his Ph.D. at Duke, followed by a post-doctoral position at UNC-Chapel Hill. His most recent grant was from the NIH-National Cancer Institute, a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award for “Enzymatic and Motor Properties of Myosin 19.”  He is first author on a number of articles published in scientific journals.

Associate Professor of Biology
Cell Biology
Cytoskeleton/molecular motors
Quantitative fluorescence microscopy