• Title Assistant Professor
  • Education PhD: University of North Carolina
    Post-Doctoral Training: Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School
  • Office K1
  • Area of Interest RNA metabolism during stress

Adverse stimuli, such as oxidative stress, thermal shock, viral infection, amongst others, consistently act upon cells to which they must respond to promote survival. Despite the variety of stresses, cells react similarly by conserving and redirecting energetic reserves from anabolic processes towards pro-survival processes. Precise modulation of a stress response is critical to organismal homeostasis. Failure to mount an effective response will result in cell death while a hyperactive response can lead to unrestrained proliferation or inflammation. Such situations are typically seen in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, respectively.

The long-term goal of my laboratory is to understand how cells reprogram gene expression in response to stress, while specifically focusing on post-transcriptional regulation. Currently, there are two aspects to this response that my lab is investigating:

  1. Control of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing: Ribosome biogenesis is a major energetic task of growing cells; thus, this is a significant point of regulation during stress. Mature ribosomes contain 80 proteins and four non-coding RNAs. We aim to understand how maturation of rRNAs, which constitute the majority of all cellular RNA, is regulated under different conditions.
  2. Regulation of mRNA translation during stress: The activation of the integrated stress response (ISR) directly targets the translational machinery resulting in the rapid inhibition of protein synthesis. We aim to understand the mechanisms by which this occurs and how some mRNAs escape ISR-dependent regulation.

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