A large fraction of mammalian genomes are transcribed, generating tens of thousands of long RNAs that do not encode proteins (lncRNAs). These lncRNAs are expressed with exquisite tissue specificity and several have been found to regulate diverse regulatory processes. Evidence also point to lncRNA loci as risk factors frequently deregulated or mutated in a wide variety of human diseases. However, how lncRNAs contribute to development in vivo and how they may affect transcriptional programs and signaling pathways still remains poorly characterized. Thus, one of the main challenge 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, computational and high-throughput 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 provide much needed genetics and molecular bases towards the generation of novel RNA-based diagnostics and therapies.
Our research program is funded by
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