Joel McManus, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University
High-Throughput Probing of Human IncRNA Structure
Abstract: The human genome has often been referred to as “The Book of Life.” Every person’s genome contains the instructions needed for their bodies to grow and function. These instructions are stored in molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA for short) which exist as a double helix structure inside a person’s cells. However, in order for these instructions to be read, DNA must first be copied into another molecule called ribonucleic acid (RNA for short), through a process called gene expression. RNA then uses this information to direct the production of proteins and control the expression of genes. The functions of RNA molecules are largely determined by their molecular structure and interactions with proteins. Traditional experimental approaches to investigate RNA structure are slow and tedious. This project aims to use a novel high-throughput approach to investigate the molecular structures and predict protein binding sites of a particular class of RNAs called large non-coding RNAs (lncRNA for short). This class of recently discovered RNAs has many functions, and the misregulation of lncRNAs have been linked to many human diseases such as cancer and autism. This proposal aims to provide a better understanding of lncRNA structure and function.