Michael Francis

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Foods and Nutrition

Ph.D. Student

171 Dawson Hall
305 Sanford Dr.
Athens, GA 30602


workOffice Phone: 716-534-0626


Degree Field of Study Institution Graduation
Bachelor of Science Biochemistry SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 2014


Michael is conducting nutrigenomics research in the Micronutrient Proteomic Research Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Grider.

Current Research

The human transcription factor metal response element (MRE)-binding transcription factor 1 (MTF-1) binds to the DNA motif called the MRE in the promoter region of genes to regulate their transcriptional expression. MTF-1 is a zinc activated (zinc finger) protein whose activity and migration to the nucleus of cells is directly altered by levels of dietary zinc ingestion. MTF-1 can alter the gene expression of proteins, but we are currently looking at the fluctuation in levels of non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs), which themselves change gene expression post-transcriptionally. And some miRNA can also affect MTF-1 expression. Therefore there are cascading regulatory effects involving MTF-1 and miRNAs which can be initiated by zinc.


TA FDNS 2100 Fall 2017, Spring 2018


Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, Junior Division Category Leader, 2018

350.org: Student Leader, 2012-2014

Syracuse Animal Rights Organization: Member, 2012-2014

Syracuse Peace Council: Intern, 2013


Award Name Awarded By Year Awarded
Virgina Wilbanks Kilgore Scholarship UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences 2017
Graduated Magna Cum Laude SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 2014

Journal Articles

Francis, M, Grider, A. Bioinformatic analysis of the metal response element and zinc-dependent gene regulation via the metal response element-binding transcription factor 1 in Caco-2 cells. In review.

Francis, M, Grider, A. Combined regulation of MTF-1 and miRNA in human osteogenic pathways: genome-wide in silico target identification. In preparation.

Grider, A, Francis, M. The zinc transcriptional regulatory element within the human genome: quantity and location upstream from microRNA genes. In preparation.



Francis, M, Grider, A. In silico secondary analysis of the metal regulatory element/MTF-1 within the human genome: relation to zinc-responsive genes [abstract]. In: Current Developments in Nutrition; 2018 June 9-12; Boston, MA. ASN; 2018. (Accepted)

Francis, M, Grider, A. The proximity of the metal regulatory element to microRNA genes within the human genome: in silico analysis [abstract]. In: Current Developments in Nutrition; 2018 June 9-12; Boston, MA. ASN; 2018. (Accepted)