Scheme: Newton International Fellowships
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Dates: Jan 2012-Jan 2014
Summary: The human genome is comprised of only 1.2% protein-coding sequences, but most of the noncoding DNA is transcribed. Although dozens of thousands of non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are produced, few of these have been characterized so far. My current research consists of the comprehensive study of ncRNAs in the regulation of gene expression in animals, using diverse models including embryonic stem cells, human cancers and other human and mouse tissues and cell types. I am using mainly RNA sequencing technologies and computational analysis to identify ncRNA genes that show regulated expression in the different systems, exploring their association with specific regulatory networks and biological processes, as well as their evolutionary history in mammals. To characterize the functions of these RNAs, I am using gain- and loss-of-function strategies to alter their expression and evaluate phenotypic effects in human and mouse cells, and also carrying out biochemical studies of their mechanisms of action, focusing on their roles in chromatin regulation and nuclear architecture. The general goal is to elucidate mechanisms of action of noncoding RNAs and to understand their roles in animal development and cancer.