Marlene Belfort

Marlene Belfort
Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center, Molecular Genetics
Distinguished Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Contact Information
Office: University of Albany, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Life Sciences Bldg. 2061
Phone: 518-437-4466
B.S. 1965, Univ. of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Ph.D. 1972, Univ. of California, Irvine, CA
Postdoctoral: 1977, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
1978, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Dr. Marlene Belfort currently holds the positions of Distinguished Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health, SUNY Albany, NY and Distinguished Scientist at the Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health.  She also has adjunct professorships in the Departments of Biology (SUNY) and both Biology and Biological and Chemical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).  After graduating with a B.S. degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Belfort received her Ph.D. degree in molecular biology at the University of California at Irvine, and performed post-doctoral work at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel, where she holds an honorary doctorate.  Dr. Belfort chaired the NIH Microbial Genetics study section, the NIH Pioneer Award Study Section, served on the board of directors of the RNA Society and served on the Board of Advisors of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Evolutionary Biology Program.  She is currently an advisor to the Megatools Collaborative of the European Union and to the Northeast Genome Engineering Consortium of the NIH.  She has organized international meetings in nucleic acid dynamics and evolution, for the Keystone Conferences, FASEB and Gordon Research Conferences.  Dr. Belfort has served on the editorial board of Gene, Methods in Molecular and Cellular Biology, RNA, Nucleic Acids Research, Journal of Molecular Biology, Mobile DNA and Journal of Bacteriology.  Dr. Belfort is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Her research interests are in splicing, mobility and evolution of self-splicing introns, and their application to biotechnology.
Research Interests
Molecular Biology, Bioseparations, Sensors, Introns, Inteins
Current Research
Our laboratory studies the biology of introns and inteins, dynamic sequences that interrupt genes and therefore disrupt the flow of genetic information. Our work runs the gamut from answering fundamental questions about intron and intein function and how they are removed to preserve genetic integrity, through how introns and inteins might have evolved, to ways in which they could be exploited in biotechnology.