Understanding how genes are regulated and coordinated is of fundamental significance in biomedical sciences. RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are an unexplored frontier of regulated gene expression, even though their misregulation leads to critical human diseases. I am a leader in the development of computational and experimental approaches to understand mechanistic details of how RBPs control post-transcriptional regulatory networks in development and disease (neurodegeneration). My ongoing research program focuses on how specific RBPs and their regulated RNA targets are necessary for the survival and function of pluripotent stem cells and the central nervous system. I leverage computational concepts from my background in engineering and computational neuroscience to develop creative methods for deriving meaning out of highly complex datasets and integrate many different types of information to achieve clear understanding of the underlying problem. My lab is reputed to generate genome-wide data of the highest quality coupled with rigorous analyses. Using human patient-derived stem cell models, mice and patient post-mortem samples, we delve deep into mechanistic validations of our predictions, forging actionable links between basic biology and medicine. In proposed research, I am dedicated to exploring post-transcriptional gene regulation but at the level of single pluripotent stem cells and neurons. We will develop novel scalable methodologies to test hypotheses of variation and cell-type specific heterogeneity in RNA processing. We are committed to developing RNA-sensitive nanotechnologies that utilize differences in RNA content in cells to alter cellular behavior, linking our efforts to deeply understand RNA biology with engineering applications derived from that knowledge.
Research Focus Areas:
Developmental Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Gene Expression and Regulation | Neurodevelopment and Neurodegenerative Disease | Stem Cell Biology | Systems Biology