The RNA Transcript, May 31, 2021
to our Center for RNA Biomedicine members
for your tenure and promotions!
On May 20th, 2021, the University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the following promotions of our RNA research community members:

  • Dawen Cai, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, with tenure, Medical School, and associate professor of biophysics, without tenure, College of LSA (featured scientist)
  • Justin A. Colacino, associate professor of environmental health sciences, with tenure, and associate professor of nutritional sciences, without tenure, School of Public Health
  • Peter L. Freddolino, associate professor of biological chemistry, with tenure, and associate professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, without tenure, Medical School (featured scientist and member of our Executive Committee)
  • Kenneth Kwan, associate professor of human genetics, with tenure, Medical School, and research associate professor in the Michigan Neuroscience Institute
  • Gustavo Mendonca, clinical professor, School of Dentistry
  • Sunitha Nagrath, professor of chemical engineering, with tenure, College of Engineering
  • Melanie D. Ohi, professor of cell and developmental biology, with tenure, and research professor in the Life Sciences Institute (former member of our Executive Committee)
  • Rajesh Rao, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, with tenure, and associate professor of pathology, without tenure, Medical School
  • Maureen Sartor, professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, with tenure, Medical School, and professor of biostatistics, without tenure, School of Public Health
  • Anna A.S. Schwendeman, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with tenure
  • Peter Todd, professor of neurology, with tenure, Medical School (featured scientist and member of our Executive Committee)

May 25–June 5 | The 26th Annual Meeting of the RNA Society

The program includes four keynote lectures to be given by:
  • Jennifer Doudna (HHMI, University of California Berkeley, USA)
  • Xiang-dong Fu (University of California San Diego, USA)
  • Sarah-Woodson (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
  • Irene Bozzoni (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy)
Wednesday, June 2, 9 am ET | U-M Macromolecular Science & Eng, Dissertation defense

"Engineering Complex Biological Systems via Extracellular Niche Biomimicry"
Ayse Muniz; advisor: Joerg Lahann
Wednesday, June 2, 10 am ET | U-M Biophysics Dissertation defense

"The Developmental Landscape of Neurogenesis in Drosophila Melanogaster Revealed Using Targeted Single-Cell RNA-Sequencing and a Multi-Informatic Analysis Paradigm"
Nigel Michki, advisor: Dawen Cai

Publication: Michki et al., The molecular landscape of neural differentiation in the developing Drosophila brain revealed by targeted scRNA-seq and multi-informatic analysis, Cell Reports (2021), DOI:
Wednesday, June 2, 9:00 am ET | RNA Collaborative Seminar Series, hosted by European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
NEW!! Join the discussion on Discord

"An evolutionarily conserved structure-to-function axis governs the functional mechanism of the regulatory lncRNA MEG3"

"Mechanistic dissection of SPEN function during X chromosome inactivation"

Moderator: Marco Marcia, Ph.D.
Wednesday, June 9, 4 pm ET | Center for RNA Science at Institute for Basic Sciences, Institute for Basic Science and Seoul National University

Chengqi Yi (PKU), Gunter Meister (UR), Fan-Yan Wei (Tohoku), Young-suk Lee (KAIST)
Monday, June 14, 4:00-5:00 pm ET | U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine, Rising Scholar Seminar
“CCR5 as a model to examine reporter assays in evaluating translational phenomena”
Yousuf Khan, Knight-Hennessy Scholar, NSF fellow, Stanford University
“Intersection between RNA methylation and TDP43-mediated toxicity in ALS”
Mike McMillan, Ph.D. candidate, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan
For press releases and blog articles about 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 are recent highlights.
A CSB-PAF1C axis restores processive transcription elongation after DNA damage repair, Diana van den Heuvel, Cornelia G. Spruijt, Román González-Prieto, Angela Kragten, Michelle T. Paulsen, Di Zhou, Haoyu Wu, Katja Apelt, Yana van der Weegen, Kevin Yang, Madelon Dijk, Lucia Daxinger, Jurgen A. Marteijn, Alfred C.O. Vertegaal, Mats Ljungman, Michiel Vermeulen, and Martijn S. Luijsterburg, Nature Communications, 12:1342, 2021. PMC7910549

Abstract: Bulky DNA lesions in transcribed strands block RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) elongation and induce a genome-wide transcriptional arrest. The transcription-coupled repair (TCR) pathway efficiently removes transcription-blocking DNA lesions, but how transcription is restored in the genome following DNA repair remains unresolved. Here, we find that the TCR-specific CSB protein loads the PAF1 complex (PAF1C) onto RNAPII in promoter-proximal regions in response to DNA damage. .... Our findings expose the molecular basis for a non-canonical PAF1C-dependent pathway that restores transcription throughout the human genome after genotoxic stress.

Subject terms: Nucleotide excision repair, Protein-protein interaction networks, Transcription
Co-transcriptional splicing efficiencies differ within genes and between cell types, Karan BediBrian R MagnusonIshwarya NarayananMichelle PaulsenThomas E Wilson and Mats Ljungman, Published in Advance May 11, 2021, doi: 10.1261/rna.078662.120, RNA 2021.

SARS-CoV-2 Total and Subgenomic RNA Viral Load in Hospitalized Patients 

Background: Previous studies demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected for weeks after infection. The significance of this finding is unclear and, in most patients, does not represent active infection. Detection of subgenomic RNA has been proposed to represent productive infection and may be a useful marker for monitoring infectivity.
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