We are an interdisciplinary research group that integrates techniques from biochemistry, cell biology and computational biology to understand the mechanisms of important cellular pathways.
Understanding the role of long non-coding RNAs in gene regulation
LncRNAs have recently emerged as key players in many biological processes and diseases including cancer. As of 2015, the LNCipedia database holds 90,000 human lncRNAs sequences, which represents a five-fold increase in the number of sequences deposited within the last three years. Despite increasing evidence suggesting that lncRNAs play a myriad of critical roles in biology, the molecular mechanisms by which they function remain poorly understood. My laboratory aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which lncRNAs regulate gene expression, with a special focus on those conserved across mammalian genomes.
Determining experimental structures of RNA is extremely challenging. As of July 2015, there are only 1114 (< 2%) RNA-only structures deposited in the PDB. In the absence of crystal structures, computational models can provide valuable insights and guide the experiments. In recent years, progress has been made in all areas of RNA tertiary structure prediction; however, current tools are limited to small RNAs (~100 nts). My laboratory aims to build a pipeline of computational tools for modeling large RNAs (> 200 nts), which will be provided to the scientific community as webservers or plugins.