The RNA Transcript, April 5, 2021
TODAY, Monday, April 5, 4:00 pm ET | U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine, RNA Innovation Seminar Series

“Direct binding of ESRP1 to regulated transcripts is required for position-dependent splicing regulation”
Natoya Peart, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher – Carstens Lab/Lynch Lab, Department of Medicine/Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Peart is a featured scientist in the spotlight series of The RNA Society.
Top left to right: Markos Koutmos, Sara Aton, Chris Lima, and Kevin Weeks; bottom left to right: Feng Zhang, Tracy Johnson and Brenda Bass.

At the panel discussion of our 5th Annual Symposium held March 25–26, 2021, we asked the keynote speakers for advice for trainees and mentors. Brenda Bass from the University of Utah, Tracy Johnson from UCLA, Chris Lima from Sloan Kettering Institute, Kevin Weeks from University of North Carolina, and Feng Zhang from MIT drew from their personal experiences and shared best practices to become successful scientists. The discussion was led by University of Michigan faculty Sara Aton (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology) and Markos Koutmos (Chemistry and Biophysics), both members of the Center’s Executive Committee.

“Follow your passion” is a well-known recommendation, but it can take different meanings over time as you advance in your career. For example, a certain science might really speak to you and be really exciting, but you might find yourself alone on this path. In such a case, your passion might best be the leader. The advice is to take ownership of your path, and when it is not clear, trust that your passion will make things happen.

Passion is also contagious, and a mentor’s excitement transfers onto the mentees. A good connection between a mentor and a mentee is important in that a mentee needs a role model that they can admire so they accept advice from him or her. There is also a unique relationship between the mentor and each mentee. Each trainee has his/her own way of thinking, and it is the responsibility of the mentor to understand how his/her mentee processes information to best help the mentee. There is no formula across the board but leading by example, and staying empathetic, always applies.

Did you miss our keynote speakers' presentations?
Read the blogs!

At our 5th Annual Symposium, March 25–26, 2021, U-M MiSciWriters graciously blogged about each keynote speaker: 

  • Brenda Bass, University of Utah, “Distinguishing self and non-self dsRNA in vertebrates and invertebrates”: blog
  • Tracy Johnson, UCLA, “RNA Splicing, Chromatin Modification, and the Coordinated Control of Gene expression”: blog
  • Chris Lima, Sloan Kettering Institute, “Mechanisms that target RNA for destruction”: blog
  • Kevin Weeks, University of North Carolina, “Structure-Based Discovery of New Functions in Large RNAs”: blog
  • Feng Zhang, MIT, “Exploration of Biological Diversity to Discover Novel Molecular Technologies”: blog

Thank you MiSciWriters!
Janet Smith, Ph.D., receives the 2021 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award from the Protein Society. The Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award, sponsored by Genentech, is granted in recognition of exceptional contributions in protein science which profoundly influence our understanding of biology.

Dr. Smith is a member of the U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine Strategic Advisory Board.
Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Medical School

"Through my research, I aim to better understand how predisposition to complex metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) is encoded in our DNA. I employ computational and statistical approaches to analyze large high-throughput data sets on the genome, epigenome, and transcriptome from both bulk and single-cell platforms in disease-relevant tissues/cells to understand biological mechanisms of gene regulation."

Tuesday, April 6, 12:00 pm EST | U-M Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical School

"Exploring the Modularity of Large Complexes Involved in Transcription Initiation and Chromatin Modifications"
Tuesday, April 6, 3:00 pm EST | Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine Seminar 
ZOOM, Password: 759932; Meeting ID: 922 0571 6546

“miRNAs as biomarkers for ovarian cancer screening and diagnosis”
Kevin M. Elias, M.D., Director, Gynecologic Oncology Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School
Wednesday, April 7, 4:00 pm EST | RNA Collaborative Seminar Series, hosted by The Bay Area RNA Club (BARC)

“RNA chaperones remodel gene expression”

“Data-inspired genome technology for RNA-guided recombineering and lineage recording”
Le Cong, Ph.D., Stanford University

Moderator: Stefan Oberlin, Ph.D.
Thursday, April 8, 12:00–1:00 EST | The Huron Valley ACS Section

"Single molecules come into focus: we live in an RNA world, and always have!"
Nils G. Walter, Ph.D., Francis S Collins Collegiate Professor of Chemistry, Biophysics, and Biological Chemistry, and co-Director of the U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine
Thursday, April 8, 1:00 pm EST | U-M Biointerfaces, Bionic Career Chat Series

Zach Sperry, Iota Biosciences
Monday, April 19, 4:00 pm ET | U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine, RNA Innovation Seminar Series

“Structural insights into mRNA translation initiation in humans”
Jailson (Jay) Brito Querido, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scientist, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK
Contact Elisabeth Paymal for press releases and blog articles of your upcoming top journal publications.

Our members' publications are available through Altmetric. Five queries are currently available: "RNA," "microRNA," "Transcriptome," "Translation," and "Molecule." Please make sure to have at least one of these key words in your title or abstract. Below is a recent highlight.
RNA-seq of human T cells after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation identifies Linc00402 as a regulator of T cell alloimmunity, Daniel Peltier, Molly Radosevich,Visweswaran Ravikumar, Sethuramasundaram Pitchiaya, Thomas Decoville, Sherri C. Wood, Guoqing Hou, Cynthia Zajac, Katherine Oravecz-Wilson, David Sokol, Israel Henig, Julia Wu, Stephanie Kim, Austin Taylor, Hideaki Fujiwara, Yaping Sun, Arvind Rao, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, Daniel R. Goldstein and Pavan Reddy, Science Translational Medicine, 17 Mar 2021: Vol. 13, Issue 585, eaaz0316 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaz0316

Abstract: T cell–mediated allogeneic immune responses are important to understand as they contribute to graft rejection. Peltier et al. found that long noncoding RNAs, including Linc00402, were differentially expressed in donor T cells after clinical hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) from allogeneic compared to autologous donors. Depletion of Linc00402 impaired allogeneic stimulation of T cells ex vivo. In line with this, Linc00402 was decreased in T cells from patients who went on to develop graft-versus-host disease after HSCT. Further work will need to determine whether Linc00402 is a therapeutic candidate against allograft rejection or acute graft-versus-host disease.
For Fun
Approximately, how much of the weight of a human cell is RNA? (answer next week!)
RNA was discovered in.....

ANSWER: 1869
Johannes Friedrich Miescher (1844–1895) was a Swiss physician and biologist. He was the first scientist to isolate nucleic acid. Miescher isolated various phosphate-rich chemicals, which he called nuclein (now nucleic acids), from the nuclei of white blood cells in 1869 in Felix Hoppe-Seyler's laboratory at the University of Tübingen, Germany, paving the way for the identification of DNA as the carrier of inheritance.

The significance of the discovery, first published in 1871, was not at first apparent, and Albrecht Kossel made the initial inquiries into its chemical structure. Later, Friedrich Miescher raised the idea that the nucleic acids could be involved in heredity and even posited that there might be something akin to an alphabet that might explain how variation is produced.

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