WHAT WE DO
Exploring the Hidden Functions of Non-Coding mRNA Sequences:
Intriguingly, the non-coding regions of messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules, including the 5' UTR, introns, and 3' UTR, constitute a substantial portion, exceeding 80%, of the human transcriptome. Traditionally, these non-coding segments have garnered substantial attention for their roles in governing mRNA stability, intracellular localization, and translation efficiency. However, our laboratory is on a quest to delve deeper, pushing the boundaries of knowledge to unravel the expression and potential functional roles of these enigmatic RNA sequences in various cellular contexts, transcending their immediate involvement in protein production.
Bioinformatics at the Nexus of Omics and Imaging:
At the crux of our research is the development of advanced computational methods, tailored to the precise quantification of non-coding mRNA regions within large-scale transcriptomic data. This data spans a wide array of sequencing data, including bulk, single-cell, and spatial transcriptomics. We are passionate about seamlessly integrating this wealth of information with other omics datasets, such as Clip-sequencing data, to decipher the intricate regulatory mechanisms at play.
Illuminating Phenotype-Genotype Relationships:
Our primary goal is to discern the extent to which aberrant non-coding RNA production contributes to abnormal phenotypes at the cellular and tissue levels. To accomplish this, we are pioneering computational pipelines designed for feature-based and segmentation-free analysis of diverse biological images. These encompass histopathological specimens, bright field and fluorescent images, as well as cellular micrographs.
From Neurodegeneration to Cancer:
Our research journey initially focused on neuronal cells, renowned for their intricate architecture and unique mRNA metabolism, a prerequisite for the functionality of these highly compartmentalized cells. While we continue our investigative work on motor neurons and astrocytes, we have also embarked on a compelling expansion into the realm of cancer research. In particular we investigate whether these non-coding RNA sequences play pivotal roles in conferring resistance to cancer therapies. Ultimately, our aim is to expedite the development of novel RNA-based therapeutic strategies for complex human disorders, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.