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The Khvorova Laboratory

Laboratory: The laboratory occupies approximately 6,000 square feet (bays AS4-1012 through AS4-1016) on the fourth floor of the Albert Sherman Center at the UMass Chan Medical School Worcester campus. The lab contains twelve chemical synthesis hoods, a cold room, and a tissue culture room. The Khvorova Lab also has space in a state-of-the-art animal facility and access to con-focal microscopy. The Albert Sherman Center hosts several other labs from the RNA Therapeutic Institute, all of which have access to shared equipment and facilities throughout the building, including sophisticated pieces of laboratory equipment and general maintenance support.

Office: The office is comprised of 140 square feet of office space for the Principal Investigator, sixteen desks for laboratory personnel, and cubicles for administrative support.

Computers: Available computers include networked PC and Apple desktops and laptops with access to campus computer resources for larger multiprocessor jobs.

RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI)

The RNA Therapeutics Institute was co-founded by Professors Victor Ambros (miRNAs), Craig Mello (miRNAs/RNAi), Melissa J Moore (pre-mRNA/RNP), and Phillip D Zamore (miRNAs/piRNAs) in 2009. It was accorded academic department status under the leadership of Dr Zamore in 2016, and he was appointed as its founding chair. The RTI is dedicated to leveraging the strong RNA biology and clinical research communities at UMass Chan Medical School to develop novel therapies for which RNA is either the target or the therapeutic. Advanced therapeutics are new classes of drugs that use genes and biologic molecules to modulate cellular processes and treat disease.

The extensive and highly interactive RNA community at UMass Chan includes Professors Michael Green (pre-mRNA splicing), David Grünwald (in vivo single molecule microscopy), Allan Jacobson (NMD), Anastasia Khvorova (oligonucleotide therapeutics), Andrei Korostelev (ribosome structure), Joel Richter (regulated mRNA translation), Sean Ryder (RNA binding proteins), Erik Sontheimer (CRISPR), Wen Xu (transgenic mice), and Neil Aronin (RNAi therapeutics for Huntington’s Disease). All of the RNA research groups on campus participate in a monthly RNA Club wherein faculty, postdocs, and students discuss unpublished data and ideas. The RTI has ready access to the Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology, which is housed in space contiguous to the RTI.

Numerous internal support services are available to assist UMass Chan scientists. Designated administrative and financial personnel support all RTI-related activities.

Albert Sherman Center (ASC)

The Albert Sherman Center, home to the RNA Therapeutics Institute, is a state-of-the-art research and educational facility. Completed in 2012, the 512,000 square foot facility nearly doubled the research capacity of the Worcester campus. When fully occupied, the ASC will house some 90 principal investigators and their laboratory programs, including more than 700 scientists, graduate students, and support staff. The Sherman Center is primarily devoted to biomedical research, with six floors of research laboratories, core facilities, offices, and conference spaces; the remaining three floors provide designated educational space.

The ASC was designed to maximize collaboration among scientists, educators, and students across scientific disciplines. The open laboratories promote interaction between basic scientists exploring the fundamental questions in biology at the cellular and molecular level and clinical researchers studying mechanisms of human disease. The result is a novel approach to bench-to-bedside—translational—research that aims at developing innovative therapies for a wide range of diseases, including cancer, cystic fibrosis, and neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and various forms of dementia.

For example, scientists and physician-scientists passionate about curing neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease are working together to characterize the genetic basis of the disease; investigate its molecular and biochemical mechanisms; seek DNA- or RNA-based therapies to control the disease; chemically engineer vehicles to deliver advanced therapies; and treat patients with the disease while exploring potential cures.

Advanced technologies integrated into the structure and operation of the ASC, which earned LEED Gold certification, will improve energy efficiency by 25 percent compared to a similar sized building of standard design by reducing energy consumption by 4.1 million kilowatt hours and carbon dioxide emissions by 4.5 million pounds annually.

UMass Research Cores

The UMass Research Cores are shared resources available to all internal investigators for a fee-for-service charge. The facilities offer a wide range of services to the research community including cutting edge technologies, high-end instrumentation, and technical support for basic, translational, and clinical research.

UMass Chan Medical School (UMass Chan)

The UMass Chan Medical School located in Worcester, is the Commonwealth’s first and only public medical school. Founded in 1962 to provide affordable, high-quality medical education to Massachusetts residents and to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in underserved areas of the Commonwealth, UMass Chan retains the same pioneering spirit that attracted founding faculty and students. The addition of the Morningside Graduate School in Biomedical Sciences and the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing set UMass Chan on a course to become a leading institution in medical education, biomedical research, and healthcare delivery. More than 50 years later, UMass Chan is now one of the nation’s top 50 medical schools and home to 3,022 full and part-time faculty, 486 medical, 379 biomedical sciences, and 183 graduate nursing students. UMass Chan fosters a robust biomedical research enterprise, generating more than $230 million annually in research awards, a key element of any academic medical center. According to every research benchmark, including federal funding and faculty recognition, UMass Chan demonstrates exceptional progress, much of it the direct result of a multi-phase institutional strategic plan. The strategic plan focuses on the core mission to advance the health and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research, and health care delivery with clinical partner UMass Memorial Health Care.