The RNA Transcript, January 25, 2021
Monday, January 25, 9:00–10:00 am EST (please note the time change) | U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine, RNA Innovation Seminar Series
ZOOM REGISTRATION REQUIRED (please register early)
"The RNA exosome complex: the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of RNA degradation"

Keywords: molecular mechanisms, RNA, ribosome, biochemistry, cryo-EM, X-ray crystallography

RNA research shapes revolutionary scientific paths, from fundamental science discoveries in the labs to powerful biomedical applications for patients. The rapid rise of RNA-guided genome editing tools and mRNA-based vaccinations demonstrates the tremendous impact of such breakthroughs. To help us "process" these advances, five Keynote speakers and six Data Blitz presenters will give us their takes on RNA biomedicine, from RNA processing to RNA structure and CRISPR tools. Join us for what promises to become an inspiring 5th annual symposium, socially distanced but undeterred by COVID-19.

Tracy Johnson, Ph.D., University of California – Los Angeles (RNA splicing)
Kevin Weeks, Ph.D., University of North Carolina (RNA structure in vivo)
Feng Zhang, Ph.D., MIT (CRISPR applications)
Brenda Bass, Ph.D., University of Utah (RNA editing & silencing)

Abstract submission deadline, Monday, March 1, 2021
This is an opportunity to present your best science at this high profile event. University of Michigan junior scientists (students, postdocs, junior faculty and researchers) are invited to submit a poster. Six applicants will be invited to present it at the symposium. For more information, please contact Martina Jerant.
Featured Scientist

"My research interests involve the development of efficient statistical methods and computational tools for large-scale genomic studies, including bulk and single cell RNA sequencing, bisulfite sequencing, and spatially resolved transcriptomics."
Wednesday, January 27, 4:00 pm EST | U-M Computational medicine and bioinformatics Seminar – sponsored by DCMB

"Cumulus: cloud-based data analysis framework for large-scale single-cell and single-nucleus genomics"
Dr. Bo Li, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, the director of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at Center for Immunology Inflammatory Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, and an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Monday, February 1, 4:00–5:00 pm | U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine, RNA Innovation Seminar Series
ZOOM REGISTRATION REQUIRED (please register early)

“Regulating the axonal proteome through mRNA transport and translation”
SmartState Chair in Childhood Neurotherapeutics
Professor of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina
Tuesday, February 2, 3:00 pm | U-M Human Genetics Short Course

"Welcome to the Exciting World of Tandem and Interspersed DNA Repeats"
Introductory Lecture, Kenneth Cadigan, Ph.D., Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, College of LSA, University of Michigan
Thursday, February 4, 12:00–1:00 pm | U-M Life Sciences Institute Seminar Series

"Structural biophysics of RNA interactions that contribute to viral replication"
Blanton S. Tolbert, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
Hosted by: Janet Smith, Ph.D.
March 11–12, 2021, 2021 NHLBI Long Non-coding (lnc) RNAs Symposium: from Basic Mechanism to Human Disease

This virtual symposium will bring together basic scientists and clinicians in order to foster new and productive research collaborations towards both basic and translational advances, as well as offer valuable training and presentation opportunities for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculties.
The Call for Abstracts is now open and accepting submissions until February 12: 
Contact Elisabeth Paymal for press releases and blog articles of your upcoming publications. MORE INFORMATION

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 are recent highlights.
Transcriptomic signatures and repurposing drugs for COVID-19 patients: findings of bioinformatics analyses, GuobingLi, ShashaRuan, XiaoluZhao, QiLiu, Yali Dou, Fengbiao Mao, Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Volume 19, 2021, Pages 1-15,

... we systematically evaluated the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on gene expression of both lung tissue and blood from COVID-19 patients using transcriptome profiling....
Amilorides inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro by targeting RNA structures, Martina Zafferani, Christina Haddad, Le Luo, Jesse Davila-Calderon, Liang Yuan-Chiu, Christian Shema Mugisha, Adeline G. Monaghan, Andrew A. Kennedy, Joseph D. Yesselman, Robert R. Gifford, Andrew W. Tai, Sebla B. Kutluay, Mei-Ling Li, 
Gary Brewer, Blanton S. Tolbert, Amanda E. Hargrove, bioRxiv, 06 December 2020,

Summary and Outlook
In summary, we herein identified drug-like small molecules that reduce SARS-CoV-2 replication and are the first antivirals to target the conserved RNA stem loops in the 5’- end region of SARS-CoV-2. Work is underway to further characterize the mode of action of these ligands, particularly putative impacts on RNA:protein interactions and specific steps in the viral replication cycle. Once characterized, we expect these amiloride-based ligands to serve as chemical biology tools to help understand CoV RNA molecular biology, such as N-dependent genome packaging and other cellular stages of the viral RNA replication process. Importantly, we have established an efficient framework to identify novel RNA-targeted CoV antivirals that will serve not only the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic but future coronavirus pandemics. 
Disease-associated mutations in mitochondrial precursor tRNAs affect binding, m1R9 methylation and tRNA processing by mtRNase P
2020 Dec 30; rna.077198.120. doi: 10.1261/rna.077198.120. 

Mitochondrial diseases linked to mutations in mitochondrial (mt) tRNA sequences are common. However, the contributions of these tRNA mutations to the development of diseases is mostly unknown. Mutations may affect interactions with (mt)tRNA maturation enzymes or protein synthesis machinery leading to mitochondrial dysfunction...
Postdoctoral position at Yale University in the Grace Chen Lab

.... Specifically, we aim to understand how different layers of regulation including RNA modifications and cellular localization affect RNA function to enable new insights into both normal function and how dysregulation leads to disease. The Chen Laboratory applies molecular, cellular, and chemical biology techniques coupled with next-generation sequencing to address these questions. We aim to generate novel therapies based on our new insight about circRNA function and regulation. For more information, visit

Applicants should have recently completed a Ph.D. degree in molecular biology, chemical biology, immunology or genomics. High priority will be given to those candidates with strong backgrounds in RNA or chemical biology.