We investigate RNA:
We are passionate about understanding how genes are regulated and how that regulation can impact development or affect human diseases. We seek to understand what dictates the stability and the level of translation of messenger RNA (mRNA) in vertebrates. In particular, we are decoding the regulatory information encrypted across the mRNA. And while we are interested in the canonical regulatory mechanism by which proteins (e.g. RNA binding proteins) or RNAs (small or long non-coding) recognize regulatory elements in the 3’UTRs, we are also very interested in the regulatory information encrypted in the coding region, and more precisely, in the genetic code. We and others have demonstrated that mRNA translation affects mRNA stability in a codon-dependent manner, but it is unclear how it does so in vertebrates, or whether the ribosome can have other gene regulatory properties. In sum, we seek to understand how mRNA stability and translation is regulated during embryogenesis and how that may affect human diseases.
We are interested in regulatory mechanisms that affect several genes; therefore, we often take genome-wide approaches including RNA-seq (RNA level), Slam-Seq and mRNA decay profiles (RNA stability), Ribosome profiling (Translation) and proteomic profiles (Protein level or identification). We also combine our genome-wide profiles with intense computational analysis as well as more classic molecular biology approaches (e.g. reporters).
Our two favorite model systems are zebrafish embryos and immortalized human cells. We take advantage of both models to address the biological questions that keep us awake!