UMass Boston

Steven Ackerman

Honors College - Dean's Office
Associate Professor
Wheatley Hall Floor 03

Areas of Expertise

Gene Regulation in Plants and Animals 


PhD, Microbiology Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania
BA, Biology, Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York

Professional Publications & Contributions

Professional Interests

Steve Ackerman's research group investigates gene regulation in plants and animals, specifically the initiation event of RNA synthesis. These studies are designed to address the biochemistry of the transcription process and the regulatory mechanisms governing this process. The research group biochemically purifies wheat transcription proteins and uses model in vitro transcription systems from plants and animals to characterize plant general transcription proteins by substituting them for their congeneric human protein in a homologous human transcription system, forming a heterologous wheat/human system. The gene(s) for proteins of interest are molecularly cloned for further studies.

The group also investigates transcription mechanisms in vivo using transgenic wheat. Biochemical studies also include wheat chromatin remodeling and its effects on transcription, how activator proteins affect transcription initiation via their interaction with wheat TAFs, and transcript families for the general transcription factors of wheat. These investigations incorporate a wide variety of techniques including tissue culture, protein purification by all the standard chromatographies (LC, HPLC, affinity chromatography, etc.), recombinant DNA technologies (molecular cloning, PCR, blotting, etc.), in vitro assay systems, eucaryotic cell transfection and selection, gel retardation and DNA footprinting, etc.

Professional Experience

  • 2015-present Associate Professor, Honors College, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  • 1989-2015 Associate Professor, Biology Department, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  • 1983-1989 Assistant Professor, Biology Department, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  • 1979-1983 NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Roberto Weinmann, mentor.
  • 1978-1979 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania. John J. Furth, mentor.
  • 1973-1978 NIH trainee for Predoctoral studies, Microbiology Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania. John J. Furth, mentor.