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Projects

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of differential microRNA-processing and its dysregulation in cancer

project 1 imageMicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small (21-24 nt) double-stranded RNA molecules that act to modulate eukaryotic gene expression through a process known as RNA interference (RNAi). miRNA precursors must undergo a number of processing steps after transcription to generate an active, mature miRNA. miRNA-processing appears to be regulated in both a miRNA-specific and cell-specific manner, suggesting that both precursor miRNA sequence elements and cell-specific factors contribute to the differential regulation of mature miRNA expression levels.

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Exploring the role of circular RNAs in neuronal function

project 2 imageCircular RNAs (circRNAs) have been recently shown to be a relatively abundant, developmentally regulated class of alternatively-spliced, covalent-closed-circle RNAs produced by the ‘back-splicing’ of adjacent exons from linear pre-messenger RNAs (pre-mRNAs).

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The development of RNA-targeting CRISPR tools to study RNA-mediated gene regulation

project image 3Readily-programmable RNA-targeting CRISPR/Cas systems have recently revealed new opportunities to create a versatile range of tools designed to modulate RNA splicing, RNA translation, RNA editing or to visualize RNAs in live cells. During my postdoctoral research, I developed a versatile tool based on the genome-editing reagent CRISPR/Cas9 to specifically bind and/or cleave any desired RNA sequence in a readily programmable manner (RCas9), which has led to the development of a number of new Cas9 applications including tagless live-cell RNA-imaging and tagless RNA isolation.

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