The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Institute of Molecular Medicine
Center for Human Genetics
Regulation of gene expression is fundamental to a wide range of biological processes. From cell fate determination during development to malignant transformation during tumorigenesis, precise control of gene expression forms the basis of these processes. Our current understanding of gene regulation is, however, far from complete. Most published studies that profile gene expression are transcript-centric (i.e. they focus on measuring mRNA levels and levels of transcription factor binding). While these efforts revealed intricate networks of cooperativity amongst transcription factors in shaping complex biological processes, much of the post-transcriptional regulation are left unexplored. It remains unclear whether the process of protein translation is regulated by a network of factors to an extent of complexity similar to transcription regulation. We ask questions such as “Do sequence specific RNA binding proteins (RBP) cooperate in controlling translation?”, “Are there translational regulatory networks that orchestrate critical biological processes?”. Our research program focus on addressing these questions in biological contexts that are relevant to human health. Our immediate goals are to develop novel tools to systemically study RBP binding; to investigate regulatory functions of upstream Open Reading Frames (uORFs); and to integrate these functional genomics annotations with results from genetic studies, in order to fine map the regulatory variants and to provide mechanistic understanding for disease associated variants. Students in the laboratory have the opportunity to receive trainings in performing wet lab molecular biology experiments and dry lab statistical analyses of next generation sequencing data.
Education & Training
PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, 2012