Professor Ruth Steward, of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, has research interests in the Toll-Dorsal (NF-kB/Rel) pathway functioning in establishing dorsal-ventral polarity in the early Drosophila embryo, in the humoral and cellular immune response, and in hematopoiesis. The pathway is conserved in flies and vertebrates. In mammals it controls the immune and inflammatory responses and is critical for cell growth and survival. A large number of mammalian tumors are associated with mis-regulation of the NF-kB/Rel proteins. She is also working on histone methylation and its effect on chromatin organization in Drosophila.