The longstanding goal of our lab is to elucidate the function of RNA molecules in gene expression and genome maintenance. Our most recent emphasis is on piRNAs, fascinating small RNA species that defend genome against invasive nucleic acid. The piRNA pathway is essential for germline development and fertility in all animals. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of piRNA-directed genome defense as well as endogenous gene regulation.
Our experimental strategy uses primarily C. elegans as a model system. By integrating bioinformatics, biochemical, and genetic approaches, we are pursuing three fundamental questions:
- How are piRNA genes transcribed and how are mature piRNAs made?
- How do piRNAs silence transposable elements and regulate endogenous genes?
- Venture into other model and non-model organisms. Through comparative studies, we aim to identify conserved features-e.g., proteins, mechanisms, or functions-of the piRNA pathway.
Education and Training
PhD: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Kansas Medical Center and Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Postdoc: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and University of Massachusetts Medical School
Office: 210 Rightmire Hall
Lab: 218 Rightmire Hall