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Saturday, July 20:  All UR Medicine facilities are open as scheduled and providing safe patient care, with a goal to return all clinical services to full efficiency by early next week.
Patients: click here for more information. Faculty/Staff: click here for information.



Douglas Anderson
Research Interest: LncRNA control of heart development and disease; Discovery and function of micropeptides encoded by putative lncRNAs; Genome-editing by RNA-guided nucleases.

Paul Boutz
Research Interest: Regulation of pre-mRNA splicing and polyadenylation in healthy and diseased states; the contribution of RNA processing to cancer biology; effects of small molecule drugs on RNA processing and gene expression.

Paul Dunman
Research Interest:

Antimicrobial drug discovery using pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii: exploiting components of the bacterial RNA metabolism machinery; characterizing prokaryotic ribonucleases; understanding the impact of the host environment on antibiotic resistance and virulence factor expression. 

Dmitri Ermolenko
Research Interest:

Structural dynamics of the ribosome and ribosomal ligands during proteins synthesis, regulation of protein synthesis by mRNA structure in normal and diseased cells, and mechanisms of antibiotic action.

Dragony Fu
Research Interest: Nucleic acid modification and repair mechanisms linked to neurodevelopmental disorders, mitochondrial diseases, and cancer.

Elizabeth Grayhack
Research Interest: Role of the genetic code in regulating protein synthesis and mRNA metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Jermaine Jenkins
Research Interest:

X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy analysis of RNA and protein-RNA complexes

Clara Kielkopf
Research Interest: Splicing defects in hematologic malignancies; roles of human pre-mRNA splicing factors in HIV-1 infectivity; development of engineered splicing factors for correction of splicing defects; splice sites and their associated proteins as therapeutic targets.

Amanda Larracuente
Research Interest: Satellite DNA (repetitive DNA typically found at centromeres and telomeres), Meiotic Drive, and Selfish DNA using genomic, population genetic, molecular and cytological methods.

John Lueck
Research Interest: Determining the therapeutic promise of engineered tRNAs for treatment of nonsense associated diseases and investigating the pathomechanisms of skeletal muscle weakness and wasting in myotonic dystrophy

Lynne Maquat
Research Interest:

RNA metabolism in human cells (nonsense-mediated mRNA decay/mRNA surveillance); influence of pre-mRNA splicing on mRNA translation; Staufen-mediated mRNA decay and Staufen-regulated RNA metabolism; post-transcriptional gene control via lncRNAs and SINEs; miRNA metabolism; Fragile X Mental Retardation Syndrome/Autism; therapeutics of nonsense diseases.

David Mathews
Research Interest: Computational biology of RNA, including structure prediction, molecular dynamics, and genomics.

Stephano Mello
Research Interest: Understanding how nuclear proteins and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) regulate gene transcription in pancreatic preneoplastic lesions, gaining knowledge of the process of cellular transformation and tumor initiation.

Mitchell O'Connell
Research Interest: Biochemical mechanisms of RNA-mediated gene regulation; RNA-targeting CRISPR tool development

Eric Phizicky
Research Interest: tRNA biogenesis, function and quality control; intellectual disability due to deficiencies in tRNA modifications.

Christoph Pröschel
Research Interest:

Using primarily human pluripotent stem cell models, we examine astrocyte development in normal and pathological conditions, the role of astrocytes in modulating response to injury or stress, the role of altered RNA processing and translation in neural development, and the utility of glial precursor cells and their astrocytic progeny for cell transplantation therapy.

Gaurav Sharma
Research Interest: Computational biology of RNA; RNA comparative sequence analysis; RNA structure prediction; analysis of HIV RNA genomes.

Laurie Steiner
Research Interest:

Understanding how regulation of RNA Polymerase II activity regulates cellular differentiation, with a focus on erythropoiesis. Delineating epigenetic control of normal erythropoiesis; determining the contribution of disrupted epigenetic regulation to inherited anemias.

Charles Thornton
Research Interest: Myotonic dystrophy, repeat expansion diseases, and therapeutic development for neuromuscular disorders.

Eric Wagner
Research Interest:

Mechanism and physiological importance of alternative polyadenylation; Integrator Complex and transcriptional control, development and application of next-generation sequencing technologies

Joseph Wedekind
Research Interest: Structure and function analysis of gene regulation by non-protein-coding (nc)RNAs as a basis for therapeutic development.

Peng Yao
Research Interest:

Pathophysiological function and molecular mechanism of new non-coding RNAs and RNA-binding proteins and translational control in cardiac system and cardiovascular disease

Yi-Tao Yu
Research Interest: RNA modification; pre-mRNA splicing; snRNP biogenesis; telomerase RNA modification and aging; nonsense-disease therapeutics.

Emeritus & Former Members

Photo of Scott Butler

James S. Butler, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Photo of Douglas Turner

Douglas H. Turner, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Department of Chemistry

Photo of Thomas Eickbush

Thomas H. Eickbush, PhD
Mercer Brugler Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus
Department of Biology

Photo of Xin Li

Xin Li, PhD was an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and a Member of the UR Center for RNA Biology. He was at the UR from November 2014 through March 2023, and now works at Zhejiang University. We look forward to continued interaction with Dr. Li at his new RNA Center. His contact information and new title are below.

Xin Li, PhD
Qiushi Distinguished Professor
Academic Director, ZJU RNA Center
International Institutes of Medicine
The Fourth Affiliated Hospital
Zhejiang University School of Medicine
Yiwu, Zhejiang, China
Phone: +86-0579-89932175
Li Lab:

ZJU RNA Center:


Photo of Hitomi Sakano

Hitomi Sakano, MD, PhD was an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Neuroscience and a Member of the UR Center for RNA Biology. She was at the UR from 2018-2023 and now is at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her contact information and new affiliation are below. 

Hitomi Sakano, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Department of Otolaryngology and Neuroscience
Peter O’Donnell Jr Brain Institute
2001 Inwood Rd., 7th Floor
Dallas, TX 75390-9035