Overview of Our Research

We are a team of interdisciplinary experts with more than 60 years of collective expertise in studying regulatory RNAs. Our work focuses on several categories of RNA molecules that include: microRNA (miRNA), miRNA isoforms (isomiRs), transfer RNA (tRNA), tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs), and piRNAs. Ever-increasing evidence, contributed by our team and others, shows that these molecules are powerful regulators with very diverse roles in health and in disease.

During the better part of the last decade, our team’s ground-breaking human genome research has uncovered new molecular categories as well as a myriad of previously unsuspected RNA regulators. Our team also showed that the identity and abundance of these newly-discovered regulators depend on a person’s sex, population origin, and ethnicity, as well as on tissue type, tissue state, and disease.

The existence of these regulators and their dependencies on a patient’s attributes and on tissue/disease context had eluded us until now. Consequently, the vast majority of these molecules have not been studied before and are currently uncharacterized. To improve our understanding in this area, we take a “systems biology” approach. Specifically, we combine high-performance computing, data-driven hypothesis generation, and wet laboratory work to unravel the biogenesis of these molecules and the mechanisms through which they impact on important biological processes. As we improve our understanding of how these regulators are linked to homeostasis and disease we will be able to create increasingly precise diagnostics and prognostics, and more powerful and individualized therapies.

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