Long noncoding RNAs


Genome Regulation




Dissecting the functions and molecular grammar of long noncoding RNAs 
in development and disease.

A large fraction of mammalian genomes is transcribed, generating tens of thousands of long RNAs devoid of protein coding potential (lncRNAs). These lncRNAs are expressed with exquisite tissue specificity and several were found to regulate key cellular processes. Evidence also point to lncRNA loci as risk factors frequently deregulated or mutated in a wide variety of human diseases. However, the extent to which lncRNAs contribute to development in vivo and how they affect transcriptional programs and signaling pathways still remains poorly characterized. Thus, one of the main challenges to understand the noncoding genome’s influence on the fundamental mechanisms of life is not only to determine which lncRNAs are functional, but also decipher how they perform their tasks.


Our laboratory combines genetically engineered animal models and human cellular systems with functional genomics and CRISPR-based genome editing techniques to perturb lncRNA functions and characterize their role at a cellular and physiological level. We also aim to understand the molecular grammar that underlies lncRNA function and uncover novel noncoding RNA-based mechanisms. For this, we use a combination of biochemistry, high-throughput and computational approaches to identify RNA-interacting macromolecules and RNA domains that mediate their function.


Our goal is to better understand the impact that lncRNAs and noncoding regions have on development and reveal novel RNA-based mechanisms that could lead to the generation of novel diagnostics and therapies.

Functional Profiling

Performing functional assasys to determine the role of lncRNAs in human and animal cells using genome editing, CRISPR systems and antisense oligos

Biochemistry & Genomics

Dissecting RNA-based machines and characterizing their molecular interactions using biochemistry, molecular and sequencing based approaches (short and long read)

Disease Modeling

Characterizing the in vivo roles in mouse models and xenografts using CRISPR-based genome engineering and antisense oligos in tissues


Our research program is funded by:

Fonds de Recherche du Québec Santé
Canadian Foundation for Innovation
IRCM Foundation

Copyright © Martin Sauvageau. All rights reserved.