"I’ve always been impressed with the supportive atmosphere created by the students and faculty at Goucher. I enjoy working with Goucher students in the classroom and in the lab as they develop their intellectual skills and prepare themselves for life beyond Goucher."
Mark H. Hiller
Mark Hiller is Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Program at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. He completed his doctorate at Carnegie Mellon University where his research focused on yeast vacuoles. Prior to her arrival at Goucher in 2002, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford University School of Medicine in the departments of Developmental Biology and Genetics. As an undergraduate he studied cell fusion. At Goucher College, he teaches in the Biology and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology programs.
Research, Scholarship, Creative Work in Progress
Spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly, is an excellent model system to investigate the mechanisms that control cellular differentiation. Spermatogenesis is a complex transformation that produces functional sperm from undifferentiated germline cells. Dr. Hiller’s current research has two projects that he and his Goucher College undergraduate students use to understand sperm development. The first examines the mechanisms that control gene expression. In most cells, the general transcription factor TFIIA is involved in the earliest steps of transcription and is composed of three subunits. A homolog for one of these subunits, encoded by the tfiia-s-2 gene, is expressed only in the male germline. This suggests that the tfiia-s-2 gene is necessary for spermatid differentiation gene transcription. This hypothesis is being tested using CRISPR/Cas9 generated deletion of the tfiia-s-2 gene. The second project investigates male-specific sugar transporters. Transport of sugars into cells is necessary to supply the energy and structural molecules necessary for cellular differentiation and sperm function. Out of twenty-five putative SLC2-type sugar transporters encoded in the fly genome, Dr. Hiller’s lab has identified five genes that are only expressed in the testis. There is very little known about how sugars are transported into germline cells as they develop into sperm. The lab has also begun to characterize a putative lactate transporter that could help cells obtain energy.
Cottle, K., and M. Hiller. 2018. Alternative Genre: Audience, Assessment, Awareness. Configurations. 26: 323-336.
Chen X, Hiller M, Sancak Y, Fuller MT (2005) Tissue-specific TAFs counteract Polycomb to turn on terminal differentiation. Science 310: 869-72.
Perezgasga, L, Jian J-Q, Bolival Jr.,B, Hiller M, Benson E, Fuller MT, White-Cooper H (2004) Regulation of transcription of meiotic cell cycle and terminal differentiation genes by the testis-specific Zn-finger protein matotopetli. Development 131: 1691-1702.
Hiller MA, Chen X, Pringle MJ, Suchorolski M, Sancak Y, Viswanathan S, Bolival B, Lin T-Y, Marino S, Fuller MT (2004) Testis-specific TAF homologs collaborate to control a tissue-specific transcriptionprogram. Development 131: 5297-308.
Hwa JJ, Hiller MA, Fuller MT, Santel A (2002) Differential expression of the Drosophila mitofusin genes fuzzy onions and dMfn. Mech. Development 116: 213-216.
Hiller MA, Lin T-Y, Wood C, Fuller MT (2001) Developmental regulation of transcription by a tissue-specific TAFII homolog. Genes and Development 15: 1021-1030.
External Awards, Honors, Grants
Dr. Hiller has received research funding from an NSRA fellowship from the NIH, a Lalor Foundation research fellowship and a National Science Foundation (CAREER) award. His research has also been supported by Goucher College summer student research awards and the Nast-Naron Fund of the Rotary Foundation.
Conference Papers & Panel Participation
Hiller, Mark, Katlyn Heneghan, Emily Fontenoy, Stephanie Hrabar. Testis-specific sugar transporters of D. melanogaster. Drosophila Research Conference. April 2019.
Budge, Kelly*, Elena Shapiro-Albert* and Mark Hiller. The gene tfiia-s-2 encodes a testis-specific homolog of a TFIIA subunit. Drosophila Research Conference. April, 2018.
Fontenoy, Emily*, Helen Shapiro-Albert*, Stephanie Hrabar*, and Mark Hiller. Characterization of putative testis-specific sugar transporters in Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila Research Conference. April, 2018.
Mohammadi, Joseph S*, Erin Collins*, Helen Shapiro*, Mark Hiller. The gene tfiias2 encodes a testisspecific TFIIA subunit homolog in Drosophila melanogaster. Poster Presentation. Drosophila Research Conference. March, 2017.
Hrabar, Stephanie*, and Mark Hiller. Characterization of the Putative Sugar Transporter Encoding Genes, SUT3 and SUT4, from Drosophila melanogaster. Poster Presentation. Drosophila Research Conference. March, 2017.