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2015 News

DECEMBER 21, 2015, New publication  In vivo single-particle imaging of nuclear mRNA export in budding yeast demonstrates an essential role for Mex67p.  Smith C, Lari A, Derrer CP, Ouwehand A, Rossouw A, Huisman M, Dange T, Hopman M, Joseph A, Zenklusen D, Weis K, Grunwald D, Montpetit B. J Cell Biol. 2015 Dec 21;211(6):1121-30. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201503135. PMID: 26694837

DECEMBER 1, 2015, New publication  Hydrophobically Modified siRNAs Silence Huntingtin mRNA in Primary Neurons and Mouse Brain.  Alterman JF, Hall LM, Coles AH, Hassler MR, Didiot MC, Chase K, Abraham J, Sottosanti E, Johnson E, Sapp E, Osborn MF, Difiglia M, Aronin N, Khvorova A. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2015 Dec 1;4:e266. doi: 10.1038/mtna.2015.38.PMID: 26623938

NOVEMBER 5, 2015  Wen Xue, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of RTI, won The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) Scientific Merit Award, in addition to the 2015 LCRF grant.  The Scientific Merit Award acknowledges the investigator whose proposal was selected for outstanding overall merit by the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Xue received the accolade for his research targeting small RNA-mediated KRAS inhibition in lung cancer. For more details, click here.

NOVEMBER 5, 2015, New publication  Probability-based particle detection that enables threshold-free and robust in vivo single-molecule tracking.  Smith CS, Stallinga S, Lidke KA, Rieger B, Grunwald D. Mol Biol Cell. 2015 Nov 5;26(22):4057-62. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E15-06-0448. Epub 2015 Sep 30.  PMID: 26424801

NOVEMBER 3, 2015, New publication  Ribosome Structure Reveals Preservation of Active Sites in the Presence of a P-Site Wobble Mismatch. Svidritskiy E, Korostelev AA. Structure. 2015 Nov 3;23(11):2155-61. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2015.08.011. Epub 2015 Sep 24.PMID: 26412335

NOVEMBER 1, 2015  Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, is on The World’s
Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014 by Reuters.
Phil is one of the researchers who have produced work that is most frequently acknowledged by peers in the field of Molecular Biology & Genetics.  These highly cited researchers were determined by analyzing at citation data over the last 11 years to identify those who published the highest impact work (2002—2012 and 2012—2013). These individuals are influencing the future direction of their fields, and of the world.  For details, please click here.  For a copy of the report, click here.

OCTOBER 23, 2015  Socheata Ly is selected for the Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) program.  Soki, a Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences graduate student in the Khvorova lab is selected by Drs. Brian Lewis and Kate Lapane to participate in the IMSD research education grant awarded to UMass Chan. A primary goal of the IMSD program is to support the development and implementation of strategies that increase the number of underrepresented students that attain PhDs in the biomedical sciences.

OCTOBER 15, 2015, New publication from the Sontheimer lab. DNase H Activity of Neisseria meningitides Cas9.   Zhang Y, Rajan R, Seifert HS, Mondragón A, Sontheimer EJ. Mol Cell. 2015 Oct 15;60(2):242-55. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2015.09.020. PMID: 26474066

OCTOBER 15, 2015, New publication from the Khvorova lab.  Guanabenz (Wytensin™) selectively enhances uptake and efficacy of hydrophobically modified siRNAs. Osborn MF, Alterman JF, Nikan M, Cao H, Didiot MC, Hassler MR, Coles AH, Khvorova A. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Oct 15;43(18):8664-72. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv942. Epub 2015 Sep 22. PMID: 26400165

OCTOBER 8, 2015  Wen Xue, PhD, Assistant Professor of RNA Therapeutics Institute, won 2015 Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF)  philanthropic grant  for his project titled " Small RNA-mediated KRAS inhibition in lung cancer". The goal of this project is to investigate mechanisms of tumor regression and relapse upon KRAS inhibition in vivo use small RNA tools. 

OCTOBER 7, 2015, New publication  Primary processing of CRISPR RNA by the endonuclease Cas6 in Staphylococcus epidermidis. Wakefield N, Rajan R, Sontheimer EJ. FEBS Lett. 2015 Oct 7;589(20 Pt B):3197-204. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.09.005. Epub 2015 Sep 10. PMID: 26364721

OCTOBER 1, 2015, New publication  Influenza A virus preferentially snatches noncoding RNA caps.  Gu W, Gallagher GR, Dai W, Liu P, Li R, Trombly MI, Gammon DB, Mello CC, Wang JP, Finberg RW. RNA. 2015 Oct 1. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 26428694

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015  David Grunwald, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of RNA Therapeutics Institute won U01 three year Award from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. His project titled  “Visualizing local and global chromatin architecture, and gene expression in the individual cell by structural (SUSHI) and temporal (3D-SMRT) single-molecule imaging” is part of a larger 4D Nucleome initiative with NIH. For more, please click here.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015, New publication   Tailor: a computational framework for detecting non-templated tailing of small silencing RNAs. Chou MT, Han BW, Hsiao CP, Zamore PD, Weng Z, Hung JH. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Sep 30;43(17):e109. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv537. Epub 2015 May 24. PMID: 26007652

SEPTEMBER 29, 2015, New publication   Safety of Striatal Infusion of siRNA in a Transgenic Huntington's Disease Mouse Model.  Johnson E, Chase K, McGowan S, Mondo E, Pfister E, Mick E, Friedline RH, Kim JK, Sapp E, DiFiglia M, Aronin N. J Huntingtons Dis. 2015;4(3):219-29. doi: 10.3233/JHD-150163.PMID: 26444021

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015, New publication  Primary processing of CRISPR RNA by the endonuclease Cas6 in Staphylococcus epidermidis. Wakefield N, Rajan R, Sontheimer EJ.  FEBS Lett. 2015 Sep 10. pii: S0014-5793(15)00822-4. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.09.005. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26364721

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015, New publication  Caenorhabditis elegans ALG-1 antimorphic mutations uncover functions for Argonaute in microRNA guide strand selection and passenger strand disposal. Zinovyeva AY, Veksler-Lublinsky I, Vashisht AA, Wohlschlegel JA, Ambros VR.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 8. pii: 201506576. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26351692

SEPTEMBER 3, 2015, New publication  Slicing and Binding by Ago3 or Aub Trigger Piwi-Bound piRNA Production by Distinct Mechanism Wang W, Han BW, Tipping C, Ge DT, Zhang Z, Weng Z, Zamore PD.  Mol Cell. 2015 Sep 3;59(5):819-30. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2015.08.007. PMID: 26340424


AUGUST 13, 2015  Gina V. Caldas, Ph.D., named 2015 Damon Runyon Fellow.  Dr. Gina Caldas, a postdoctoral fellow in the Mello lab, is among the 16 new 2015 Damon Runyon Fellows. The recipients of this prestigious, four-year award are outstanding postdoctoral scientists conducting basic and translational cancer research in the laboratories of leading senior investigators across the country. Gina was also a 2015 Pew Latin American Fellow in Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts.  Gina is working on identifying new aspects of cell division control that can be targeted for cancer therapy using C. elegans as a model system. For more details, click here.

Jon Watts

AUGUST 1, 2015  Jonathan K Watts Ph.D. joins RTI.  Dr. Watts joins us from the University of Southhampton of the UK.  His lab will focus on developing molecules that mimic natural nucleic acids but with a number of distinct properties, like reversibly and repeatedly respond to light or selective targeting of nucleic acid species such as nuclear noncoding RNA and chromosomal DNA. His lab will also work on the development of tools and methods to study cellular nucleic acids. 

JULY 15, 2015, New publication  Adenovirus-Mediated Somatic Genome Editing of Pten by CRISPR/Cas9 in Mouse Liver in Spite of Cas9-Specific Immune Responses.  Wang D, Mou H, Li S, Li Y, Hough S, Tran K, Li J, Yin H, Anderson DG, Sontheimer EJ, Weng Z, Gao G, Xue W. Hum Gene Ther. 2015 Jul;26(7):432-42. doi: 10.1089/hum.2015.087. PMID: 26086867


JULY 13, 2015  Phillip D. Zamore, Ph.D., co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, received prestigious MERIT awards from NIH.  Phil and another researcher have received Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) awards from the National Institutes of Health for their ability to demonstrate “superior competence and productivity during their previous endeavors” and for being “likely to continue to perform in an outstanding manner in the future,” according to the NIH. This is the second MERIT award for Dr. Phil Zamore.

JULY 6, 2015, New publication POS-1 Promotes Endo-mesoderm Development by Inhibiting the Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation of neg-1 mRNA.  Elewa A, Shirayama M, Kaymak E, Harrison PF, Powell DR, Du Z, Chute CD, Woolf H, Yi D, Ishidate T, Srinivasan J, Bao Z, Beilharz TH, Ryder SP, Mello CC.  Dev Cell. 2015 Jul 6;34(1):108-18. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.05.024. Epub 2015 Jun 18.  PMID: 26096734

JULY 2, 2015, New publication  Single-Molecule Imaging Reveals that Argonaute Reshapes the Binding Properties of Its Nucleic Acid Guides. Salomon WE, Jolly SM, Moore MJ, Zamore PD, Serebrov V.  Cell. 2015 Jul 2;162(1):84-95. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.029.  PMID: 26140592

JUNE 1, 2015, New publication  A versatile reporter system for CRISPR-mediated chromosomal rearrangements.  Li Y, Park A, Mou H, Colpan C, Bizhanova A, Akama-Garren E, Joshi N, Hendrickson EA, Feldser D, Yin H, Anderson DG, Jacks T, Weng Z, Xue W.  Genome Biol. 2015 May 28;16(1):111. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26018130


MAY 29, 2015  Bo Han won Chancellor's Award. Bo Han, a graduating PhD student in the Zamore lab was recognized for his academic achievement with the UMass Chan Chancellor's Award. He worked on "Using experimental and computational strategies to understand the biogenesis of microRNAs and piRNAs" and recently published in Science. For details, click here.


MAY 25, 2015, New publication  Nuclear accessibility of β-actin mRNA is measured by 3D single-molecule real-time tracking. Smith CS, Preibisch S, Joseph A, Abrahamsson S, Rieger B, Myers E, Singer RH, Grunwald D. J Cell Biol. 2015 May 25;209(4):609-19. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201411032. PMID: 26008747

MAY 15, 2015, New publication  Noncoding RNA. piRNA-guided transposon cleavage initiates Zucchini-dependent, phased piRNA production.  Han BW, Wang W, Li C, Weng Z, Zamore PD. Science. 2015 May 15;348(6236):817-21. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa1264. PMID: 25977554

MAY 5, 2015, New publication  Caenorhabditis elegans microRNAs of the let-7 family act in innate immune response circuits and confer robust developmental timing against pathogen stress. Ren Z, Ambros VR.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 May 5;112(18): E2366-75. doi:10.1073/pnas.1422858112. Epub 2015 Apr 20. PMID: 25897023

APRIL 28, 2015  Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, talks about CRISPER on WBUR’s On Point Radio. For details, click here. 

APRIL 23, 2015  Wen Tang, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Craig Mello’s lab, is a 2015 recipient of Hope Funds for Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellowship.  This will be a three-year fellowship to support Dr. Wen Tang’s research.  The Hope Funds for Cancer Research is offering fellowships to postdoctoral scientists who propose to work on highly innovative research projects that challenge the traditional paradigms of understanding the causes, mechanisms, progression, disease markers or risk factors of the most difficult-to-treat cancers.

APRIL 14, 2015  Wen Xue, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of RNA Therapeutics Institute won 2015 Worcester Foundation Grants for his project titled "Liver cancer gene discovery and correction using CRISPR-mediated genome editing".  Worcester Foundation grants are to be awarded to investigators at the Medical School in support of promising and innovative research projects.

APRIL 14, 2015, New publication  Assessing long-distance RNA sequence connectivity via RNA-templated DNA-DNA ligation. Roy CK, Olson S, Graveley BR, Zamore PD, Moore MJ. Elife. 2015 Apr 13;4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03700. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25866926

MARCH 25, 2015  Anastasia Khvorova, Ph.D., Professor of RNA Therapeutics Institute, received NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant (S10).  Anastasia’s project titled ”Mid-Scale RNA Synthesis, Purification and Quality Control System” will be funded for over half a million dollars to help to purchase a series of equipment for the chemistry core.

JANUARY 29, 2015, New publication A ribonuclease coordinates siRNA amplification and mRNA cleavage during RNAi. Tsai HY, Chen CC, Conte D Jr, Moresco JJ, Chaves DA, Mitani S, Yates JR 3rd, Tsai MD, Mello CC. Cell. 2015 Jan 29;160(3):407-19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.01.010.
PMID: 25635455

JANUARY 20, 2015, New publication Control of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation by the heterochronic genes and the cellular asymmetry machinery in Caenorhabditis elegans. Harandi OF, Ambros VR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 20;112(3): E287-96. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1422852112.  PMID: 25561544

JANUARY 12, 2015  Dr. Craig C. Mello, Nobel Laureate and co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute will be in the You're the Expert comedy show Thursday, January 15th. This show, presented by the WBUR iLab, is trying to bridge the worlds of comedy and academia, and let people understand the importance of the expert's field of study while having fun. For detail, please click here. 

JANUARY 7, 2015  Molecular Cell cover features a new study from Zamore lab.  The study provides new insights into the biochemical mechanisms governing how piRNAs target select genetic elements for silencing.  The Initial Uridine of Primary piRNAs Does Not Create the Tenth Adenine that Is the Hallmark of Secondary piRNAs. Wang W, Yoshikawa M, Han BW, Izumi N, Tomari Y, Weng Z, Zamore PD.  Mol Cell. 2014 Dec 4;56(5):708-16. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.10.016. Epub 2014 Nov 20. PMID: 25453759 [PubMed - in process]

JANUARY 7, 2015  Jeremy Luban, MD, RTI affiliated faculty,  receives the National Human Genome Research Institute grant to develop a model for predicting gene expression in human dendritic cells.  Dr. Luban and Manuel Garber, Ph.D., another faculty at UMass Chan, will be principal investigators on a three-year, $6.1 million grant to develop a model for predicting whether a given gene will be turned on or off under specific conditions. For details, click here.