My primary interests lie in understanding how genes are regulated at the post-transcriptional level. This process remains a key determinant of the spatial and temporal expression of biological effectors in natural and disease states. My overall research focuses on characterizing disease-related post-transcriptional responses and understanding how human genetic variations interface with these processes. I aim to identify pathogenic and protective RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) and determine their regulatory targets using computational and high-throughput biochemical means. RBPs and miRNAs are key mediators of post-transcriptional responses and have been implicated in a variety of human diseases (e.g. diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and neurological). And importantly, modulation of RBP and miRNA activities provides attractive means to manipulate gene expression for therapeutic benefit.
Beyond this, my lab is also investigating the functions of several novel genes, including microproteins derived from long "non-coding" RNAs, in heart and brain. These projects incorporate a breadth of techniques, including viral-based (AAV) overexpression and inhibition (RNAi) of genes in vivo, as well as generation and characterization of CRISPR-derived knockout mice.
Overall, my research program is balanced in basic and translational studies, wet-lab and "big data" approaches, and resource- and hypothesis-driven research. This framework promotes multi-disciplinary and collaborative science, offering an excellent environment to foster the growth of current and future trainees.