CRISPR-Based Interrogation of 4-Dimensional Genome Dynamics

Led by Dr. Hanhui Ma in our lab, this project applies his innovative CRISPR-based fluorescent labeling of discrete genomic loci in human cells, to investigate interphase chromosome dynamics with reference to progression through the cell cycle. Unanticipated modes of movements are being uncovered and we are currently relating them to overall changes in genome organization at discrete times in the G1 and S phases.

Novel Roles of the Nucleolus


Our laboratory was the first to discover a role for the nucleolus beyond the synthesis of ribosomes, viz. assembly of the signal recognition particle. More recently we discovered the presence of both specific microRNAs and messenger RNAs in the nucleoli of myogenic cells, with strong base-pairing potential between the two classes (as shown at the left). From these results we have erected the exciting (but daring) hypothesis that the nucleolus can serve as a staging center for the assembly of certain microRNA:messenger RNA complexes, which are then exported to the cytoplasm in either a pre-suppressed, or conceivably pre-activated, translational state. This hypothesis forms the basis of the second major focus of our lab.

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University of Massachusetts Medical School
Attn: Dr. Thoru Pederson - BMP Department
364 Plantation St LRB-821
Worcester, MA 01605

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Undergraduates interested in pursuing a PhD at UMass Medical School should apply directly to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Program.