FEBRUARY 4, 2016 RNA Therapeutics Institute established as an academic department; Phillip D. Zamore, PhD appointed as founding chair UMass Medical School announced today that the RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) has been accorded academic department status under the leadership of Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Gretchen Stone Cook Chair in Biomedical Sciences and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, appointed as its founding chair. The RTI was created in June 2009 with four co-directors “charged with the responsibility of creating an innovative, nimble and scientifically rigorous home for RNA research dedicated to human impact”. Chancellor Michael F. Collins stated: “They have delivered on this promise, so much so that the maturation of the RTI invites this next step". For more, please click here.
FEBRUARY 1, 2016 New publication Wen Xue, PhD, Assistant Professor of RTI, is corresponding author of the first study to provide proof that the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system can be administered in a therapeutically applicable formulation to repair genes in live, adult animals. “Therapeutic Genome Editing By Combined Viral and Non-viral Delivery of Crispr System Components in Vivo.” Yin, H, Song, C-Q, Dorkin, JR, Zhu, LJ, Li, Y, Wu, Q, Park, A, Yang, J, Suresh, S, Bizhanova, A, Gupta, A, Bolukbasi, MF, Walsh, S, Bogorad, RL, Gao, G, Weng, Z, Dong, Y, Koteliansky, V, Wolfe, SA, Langer, R, Xue, W, Anderson, DG. Nat Biotech advance online publication (2016) doi:10.1038/nbt.3471 For more detail about the news, please click here.
JANUARY 1, 2016 Marie Didiot, PhD, received fellowship award. Dr. Didiot, a postdoctoral fellow in the Khvorova lab, received a competitive fellowship award from the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). She will receive $150,000 over two years for her project titled “Study of the Impact of CAG Repeat Expansion on Htt mRNA Cellular Localization”.
NOVEMBER 5, 2015 Wen Xue, PhD, Assistant Professor of RTI, Won The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) Scientific Merit Award, in addition to 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 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 highestimpact 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 Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) program. Soki, a GSBS graduate student in the Khvorova lab is selected by Drs. Brian Lewis and Kate Lapane to paticipate in the IMSD research education grant awarded to UMMS. 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 DNase H Activity of Neisseria meningitidis 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 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. For details, click here.
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, PhD, 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 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, PhD, 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.
AUGUST 1, 2015 Jonathan K Watts PhD joins RTI. Dr. Watts joins us from University of Southhampton of 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, PhD, 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 Chacellor's Award. Bo Han, a graduating PhD student in the Zamore lab was recognized for his academic achievement with the UMMS Chancellor's Award. He worked on "Using experimental and computational strategies to understand the biogenesis of microRNAs and piRNAs" and recently published on 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, PhD, 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, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Craig Mello’s lab, is a 2015 recipient of Hope Funds for Cancer Research Postdocotral 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, PhD, 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, PhD, 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 million dollars to help purchasing 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.
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 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 National Human Genome Research Institute grant to develop model for predicting gene expression in human dendritic cells. Dr. Luban and Manuel Garber, PhD, another faculty at UMMS, 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.
DECEMBER 16, 2014 Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, was elected to NAI Fellow status. Election to National Academy of Inventors Fellow status is a high profession distinction accorded to academic inventors who demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. For details, please click here.
DECEMBER 12, 2014 New publication An Optimized Kit-free Method for Making Strand-specific Deep Sequencing Libraries From RNA Fragments. Heyer EE, Ozadam H, Ricci EP, Cenik C, and Moore MJ. Nucleic Acids Res. published 12 December 2014, 10.1093/nar/gku1235
NOVEMBER 12, 2014 Victor Ambros, PhD, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, won 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Victor Ambros and his long-time collaborator Gary Ruvkun, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, have each been awarded a 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for their co-discovery of a class of tiny RNA molecules that inhibit translation or destabilize complementary mRNA targets. Each received a $3 million award. The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences honors transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life. For details, please click here.
OCTOBER 29, 2014 Craig Mello, PhD, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, talks about the need for the region's life sciences industry to work together in Worcester Telegram & Gazette. For details, click here.
OCTOBER 17, 2014 New publication piPipes: a set of pipelines for piRNA and transposon analysis via small RNA-seq, RNA-seq, degradome- and CAGE-seq, ChIP-seq and genomic DNA sequencing. Han, BW, Wang, W, Zamore, PD, and Weng, Z. Bioinformatics. published 17 October 2014, 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu647
OCTOBER 16, 2014, Juahdi Monbo won 2014 ASCB MAC Travel Award. Juahdi Monbo, a graduate student in David Grunwald's lab, has been selected to receive a MAC Travel Award to attend the ASCB/IFCB Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, December 6-10. For details, please click here.
SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, was recently featured on Nature Biotechnology. The journal interviewed him for his experience on starting up Alnylam and Voyager, two biotech companies using RNAi and gene therapy, and his insight on the commercialization of RNAi. For details, click here.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 New publications Small RNA Combination Therapy for Lung Cancer. Xue W, Dahlman JE, Tammela T, Khan OF, Sood S, Dave A, Cai W, Chirino LM, Yang GR, Bronson R, Crowley DG, Sahay G, Schroeder A, Langer R, Anderson DG, Jacks T. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Aug 26;111(34):E3553-61. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1412686111. Epub 2014 Aug 11. CRISPR-mediated direct mutation of cancer genes in the mouse liver. Xue W, Chen S, Yin H, Tammela T, Papagiannakopoulos T, Joshi NS, Cai W, Yang G, Bronson R, Crowley DG, Zhang F, Anderson DG, Sharp PA, Jacks T. Nature. 2014 Oct 16;514(7522):380-4. doi: 10.1038/nature13589. Epub 2014 Aug 6. PMID:25119044
SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 New publication Circulating microRNA profiles in human patients with acetaminophen hepatotoxicity or ischemic hepatitis. Ward J, Kanchagar C, Veksler-Lublinsky I, Lee RC, McGill MR, Jaeschke H, Curry SC, Ambros VR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Aug 19;111(33):12169-74. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1412608111. Epub 2014 Aug 4.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 Wen Xue PhD joins RTI Dr. Wen Xue will be joining us here in the RTI as an Assistant Professor. Wen earned his Ph.D. with Scott Lowe at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories and did post-doctoral studies with Tyler Jacks at MIT. Wen studies the role of microRNAs in cancer using mouser models. He has just received an R00 award from the NIH! The R00 program supports young investigators as they transition from post-doc to independent faculty.
AUGUST 26, 2014 Dr. Heng-Chi Lee, a post-doc in the Mello lab, has received a K99 award from the NIH. The K99 grant is the post-doctoral component of the K99/R00 program and supports the post-doctoral studies of talented young scientists as they work toward independence.
AUGUST 25, 2014 Dr. Anastasia Khvorova received a four-year award from NIH/NIGMS to study the “Inter and intra-cellular trafficking pathways for natural and therapeutic RNAs”, with co-investigators Victor Ambros, Sylvia Corvera, and Kevin Fogarty. The project will use a combination of RNA medicinal chemistry, TIRF microscopy and quantitative mass-spectrometry to map uptake pathways for different classes of therapeutic oligonucleotides, identify and characterize mechanism of small regulatory RNS cell and transfer, and deliver the conceptual framework necessary to generate novel RNS chemistries that exploit natural uptake mechanisms leading to transformational improvements in oligonucleotide therapeutics field.
AUGUST 15, 2014 New publication SPO24 is a transcriptionally dynamic, small ORF-encoding locus required for efficient sporulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Hurtado S, Kim Guisbert KS, Sontheimer EJ. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 15;9(8):e105058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105058. eCollection 2014. PMID: 25127041
JULY 31, 2014 Erik Sontheimer PhD joins RTI Dr. Erik Sontheimer joins us from Northwestern University. The Sontheimer laboratory focuses on the roles of RNA molecules in gene expression, with an emphasis on genetic interference pathways. Using biochemical approaches to characterize the function of the RNAi machinery, Dr. Sontheimer's research has yielded fundamental insights into the biochemical mechanism of RNAi and the pathway by which the RNAi machinery assembles on a double-stranded RNA. His research has recently expanded into a distinct interference pathway specified by CRISPR loci that limits the spread of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria.
JULY 23, 2014 New publication An efficient and sensitive method for preparing cDNA libraries from scarce biological samples. Catherine H. Sterling, Isana Veksler-Lublinksy, and Victor Ambros Nucleic Acids Res. published 23 July 2014, 10.1093/nar/gku637 [Abstract]
JULY 2, 2014 Two RNA Therapeutics Insititute faculties won 2014 UMass Life Science Moment Fund (LSMF) in one day. Anastasia Khvorova, Ph.D., with project “Ex vivo RNAi-based therapy for modulating T cell response as a novel treatment for Graft-vs-Host Disease”, and Neil Aronin, Ph.D., in conjunction with Dr. Michael Brodsky (Program in Gene Function and Expression) and Dr. Gregory Tew (UMass Amherst), with project “CRISPR- Cas9-derived Nucleases and PTDMs for Huntingtin Disease Treatment”, were selected for funding by the 2014 UMass Life Science Moment Fund (LSMF). The two projects will bring together investigators from both the Worcester and Amherst campuses.
JUNE 27, 2014 Craig C. Mello, PhD, Nobel Laureate and co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, talks to National Public Radio about the exciting future of CRISPR. He believes medical applications using the genome-engineering tool known as CRISPR are possible in the near future, he said in an interview with National Public Radio science reporter Joe Palca. For details, click here.
JUNE 25, 2014 New publication A single vertebrate DNA virus protein disarms invertebrate immunity to RNA virus infection. Don B Gammon, Sophie Duraffour, Daniel K Rozelle, Heidi Hehnly, Rita Sharma, Michael E Sparks, Cara C West, Ying Chen, James J Moresco, Graciela Andrei, John C Connor, Darryl Conte, Dawn E Gundersen-Rindal, William L Marshall, John Yates, Neal Silverman, and Craig C Mello eLife Sci. published 25 June 2014, 10.7554/eLife.02910
JUNE 17, 2014 Victor R. Ambros, PhD, the Silverman Chair In Natural Sciences and co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, has been awarded the 2014 Gruber Genetics Prize. Dr. Ambros, along with long time collaborator Gary Ruvkun, PhD, professor of genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and David Baulcombe, PhD, professor of botany at the University of Cambridge, received the prize for their pioneering discoveries of the existence and function of microRNAs and small interfering RNAs, molecules that are now known to play a critical role in gene expression. Please join us in congratulating him on this tremendous honor! For details, click here.
JUNE 11, 2014 New publication Structural mechanism is revealed of how the messenger RNA of Taura syndrome virus hijacks host ribosomes using structured RNA, called internal ribosome entry site (IRES). Koh, C. S., Brilot, A. F., Grigorieff, N., & Korostelev, A. A. (2014). Taura syndrome virus IRES initiates translation by binding its tRNA-mRNA–like structural element in the ribosomal decoding center. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1406335111
JUNE 10, 2014 David Grunwald, PhD, Assistant Professor of RNA Therapeutics Institute won Faculty Scholar Award (FSA). The Faculty Scholar Award was created by the UMMS Women’s Faculty Committee and the Women’s Leadership Work Group, and is funded jointly by UMMS and UMMHC to assist faculty during a finite period of increased family care responsibilities. Dr. Grunwald was selected as a recipient of the award for June 2014 due to the innovation and technical challenges of his project across many disciplines.
JUNE 4, 2014 Anastasia Khvorova, PhD, Professor of RNA Therapeutics Institute, is featured in Exiqon Application stories. Khvorova lab focuses on the development of novel oligonucleotide-based therapeutics, as well ways to improve delivery and tissue distribution for neurodegenerative diseases. Her lab has been using LNA™ GapmeRs to successfully silence two different genes, which are valid therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases, both in vitro and in vivo mouse and rat animal models. To read about her exciting research, click here.
MAY 30, 2014 New publication A Co-CRISPR Strategy for Efficient Genome Editing in Caenorhabditis elegans. Heesun Kim, Takao Ishidate, Krishna S. Ghanta, Meetu Seth, Darryl Conte, Jr., Masaki Shirayama, and Craig C. Mello Genetics. published 30 May 2014, 10.1534/genetics.114.166389
APRIL 8, 2014 New publication The Vasa Homolog RDE-12 Engages Target mRNA and Multiple Argonaute Proteins to Promote RNAi in C. elegans. Masaki Shirayama, William Stanney III, Weifeng Gu, Meetu Seth, Craig C. Mello Curr Biol. 2014 Mar 26. pii: S0960-9822(14)00267-X. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.008. [Epub ahead of print].
APRIL 7, 2014 Gang Han, PhD, RTI affiliated faculty, was awarded 2014 Young Investigator's Grant from Human Frontier Science Program. The HFSP supports novel, innovative and interdisciplinary basic research focused on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. The grant will support Han lab’s project on “Wireless optogenetic interrogation of non-image forming photoreceptor function by Nano-antennae” for three years and about $900,000 in total. For details, click here.
MARCH 14,2014 Melissa Moore PhD and Anastasia Khvorova PhD are among the founders of MassTERi. The Massachusetts Therapeutic and Entrepreneurial Realization Initiative (MassTERi), is a faculty-led initiative that will build upon existing efforts at the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS) and other university organizations to support scientists who are interested in advancing development of small molecule drugs and in commercializing their innovation. More...
MARCH 14, 2014 Colin Conine, PhD candidate in Dr. Craig Mello’s lab, has been awarded the 2014 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award. This prestigious award is sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Nominations were solicited internationally; the winners were selected on the basis of the quality, originality and significance of their work. More…
FEBRUARY 25, 2014 Jeremy Luban, MD, David L. Freelander Memorial Professor in HIV/AIDS Research and RNA Therapeutics Institute affiliated faculty, has been elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology for his scientific achievement and original contributions to the field of microbiology. More...
FEBRUARY 18, 2014 Phillip Zamore, PhD, is co-principal investigator of a Broadening Experience in Scientific Training (BEST) grant from the NIH. UMass is the first group of 10 graduate schools nationwide to be awarded. With the grant, Zamore and Cynthia Fuhrmann, PhD, assistant dean of professional and career development for the GSBS, will implement “An Integrated Curriculum and Community-Based Approach to Career Development” which will guide students and postdocs to create and implement a strategic plan for building the skills and experience needed to reach their career objectives. More…
FEBRUARY 12, 2014 Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, and Guangping Gao, PhD, director of the Gene Therapy Center and RTI affiliated faculty, are among the four world leaders in the fields of AAV gene therapy, RNA biology and neuroscience to launch Voyager Therapeutics today. Voyager Therapeutics is a gene therapy company to develop life-changing treatments for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). More...
FEBRUARY 6, 2014 Kelly Limoncelli received Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual Predoctoral Fellows from NIH. Kelly Limoncell, a graduate student in Melissa Moore’s lab, will receive up to 4 years of support, which covers stipend, tuition, fees, supplies, and scientific meeting expenses. The purpose of this training fellowship is to provide support for promising doctoral candidates who will be performing dissertation research and training in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) during the tenure of the award. Her project title is “Investigating the functional roles of RPS3 in RNA and DNA damage”. For details, click here.
FEBRUARY 3, 2014 New publication Inorganic phosphate blocks binding of pre-miRNA to Dicer-2 via its PAZ domain Ryuya Fukunaga, Cansu Colpan, Bo W Han, and Phillip D Zamore EMBO J. published 31 January 2014, 10.1002/embj.201387176 [Abstract].
JANUARY 21, 2014 Victor R. Ambros is awarded prestigious Wolf Prize in Medicine for the discovery of the micro- RNA molecules that play a key role in controlling gene expression in natural processes and disease development. For details, click here.
JANUARY 17, 2014 New publication Endogenous U2·U5·U6 snRNA complexes in S. pombe are intron lariat spliceosomes Weijun Chen, Hennady P. Shulha, Ami Ashar-Patel, Jing Yan, Karin M. Green, Charles C. Query, Nick Rhind, Zhiping Weng, and Melissa J. Moore RNA. published 17 January 2014, 10.1261/rna.040980.113 [Abstract].
DECEMBER 10, 2013 Rene Maehr, PhD, became an RTI affiliated faculty. His group works on pluripotent stem cell-based models of immune deficiencies and autoimmunity and has an exciting publication recently. Kearns NA, Genga RM, Enuameh MS, Garber M, Wolfe SA, Maehr R.Cas9 effector-mediated regulation of transcription and differentiation in human pluripotent stem cells. Development. 2014 Jan;141(1):219-223.
OCTOBER 28, 2013 Gang Han, PhD, awarded EUREKA R01. With a perfect impact score (10) Han lab received EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) RO1 grant from the National Institute of Health to develop light activated nanoparticles to form the basis of a new wireless “optogenetic” tool that promises to help map and decode previously inaccessible neural circuitry deep in the brain. For details, click here.
OCTOBER 8, 2013 Joerg Braun won Karl Lohmann Award from Germany. Dr. Joerg E. Braun, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Melissa Moore’s laboratory, is awarded the 2013 Karl Lohmann Award from The Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) for his doctoral research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The Karl Lohmann Award is conferred every second year to reward young researchers under 35 years of age. For details, click here.
OCTOBER 4, 2013 Phillip Zamore, codirector of the RNA Therapeutics Institute shares his experience on childcare and his strong belief on work family balance in The Boston Globe. For full article, click here.
SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 Victor R. Ambros is awarded Keio Medical Science Prize. The 18th Keio Medical Science Prize has been awarded to Victor R. Ambros, PhD, the Silverman Chair in Natural Science. Keio University in Japan annually awards the Keio Medical Science Prize “to recognize researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of medicine or life sciences.” For more details, click here.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2013 Neil Aronin, MD, awarded grant from collaborative NIH Extracellular RNA Communication program. He will explore the Clinincal Utility of Extracellular RNA for Therapy Development focusing on Huntington's disease. For more details about his project and other UMass awardees, click here.
AUGUST 19, 2013 Two RTI graduate students awarded prestigious HHMI awards. Haleen Saini, who is a 3rd year Neuroscience Program student in Dr. Melissa Moore's laboratory and, Meetu Seth, a 4th year Interdisciplinary Graduate Program student in Dr. Craig Mello's laboratory were among only 42 awardees across the nation for HHMI 2013 International Student Research Fellowships. Both students will receive up to three years of stipend, fees and research supports.
AUGUST 8, 2013 New publication ASPeak: an abundance sensitive peak detection algorithm for RIP-Seq Alper Kucukural, Hakan Özadam, Guramrit Singh, Melissa J. Moore, and Can Cenik Bioinformatics. published 8 August 2013, 10.1093/bioinformatics/btt428 [Abstract].
AUGUST 1, 2013 New publication Long Noncoding RNA Mediates Both Activation and Repression of Immune Response Genes Susan Carpenter, Maninjay Atianand, Daniel Aiello, Emiliano P. Ricci, Pallavi Gandhi, Lisa L. Hall, Meg Byron, Brian Monks, Meabh Henry-Bezy, Jeanne B. Lawrence, Luke A. J. O’Neill, Melissa J. Moore, Daniel R. Caffrey, and Katherine A. Fitzgerald Science. published 1 August 2013, 10.1126/science.1240925 [Abstract].
AUGUST 1, 2013 Andrei Korostelev, PhD, awarded R01. The Korostelev lab received a five-year R01 award from the NIH to study "Structural bases for cellular stress responses mediated by stalled translation". The project aims at understanding the molecular mechanisms that result in high pathogenicity of bacteria; elucidation of these mechanisms may lead to development of novel antibiotics.
JULY 3, 2013 New publication from Andrei Korostelev's lab in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article describes a novel mode of action of an inhibitor of translation. Korostelev lab, in collaboration with the Ermolenko lab (University of Rochester), has found that blasticidin S strongly inhibits translation termination by trapping a distorted conformation of tRNA on the ribosome. This finding may serve as a platform for the development of therapeutics that specifically suppress translation termination in human diseases associated with premature termination codons. Svidritskiy E., Ling C., Ermolenko D. N. and Korostelev A. A. "Blasticidin S inhibits translation by trapping deformed tRNA on the ribosome". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. July 2013.
JUNE 6, 2013 Joerg Braun awarded Otto Hahn Medal. Joerg E.Braun, a postdoctoral associate in Melissa Moore's lab, was awarded Otto Hahn Medal for his outstanding PhD work. The Otto Hahn Medals were awarded at the Annual Meeting of the Max Planck Society in Potsdam, Germany, on June 5 and 6. Since 1978, a few young and especially highly gifted researchers are awarded the Otto Hahn Medal each year – for their outstanding PhD work and to motivate them for a future scientific career. More...
JUNE 1, 2013 Joerg Braun awarded Human Frontier Science Program Organization Fellowship. Joerg Braun, a postdoctoral associate in Melissa Moore’s lab, was awarded a fellowship for his project “Single molecule analysis of the mammalian alternative pre-mRNA splicing”. This three year award will support Dr. Braun’s work dissecting the dynamics of human spliceosome assembly.
MAY 20, 2013 Phillip Zamore and Keith Boundy receive Umass Medical School Office of Globe Health Award. Phillip Zamore, PhD and Keith Bounty, Resident Physician and PhD Student, receive UMass Medical School Office of Global Health award to study antiviral RNA interference in Aedes aegypti mosquitos collected at the joint US/Thai Armed Forces Medical Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) in Bangkok, Thailand.
MAY 15, 2013 – Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research signs Research Agreement.
Anastasia Khvorova, PhD, Victor Ambros, PhD, and Silvia Corvera, MD have signed an agreement with David Morrissey, PhD and Novartis for a collaborative project titled “Inter and intra-cellular trafficking pathways for natural and therapeutic oligonucleotides”. This three year agreement will support research activities in the lab and share knowledge in the areas of exosome preparation and quality control, and oligonucleotide synthesis.
MAY 13, 2013 Victor Ambros is recently profiled in JCB (Journal of Cell Biology), "Victor Ambros: The broad scope of microRNAs" For full article, click here
APRIL 1, 2013 Andrei A Korostelev receives UMass Center for Clinical & Translational Science (UMCCTS) Award for his project, Novel Therapeutic Routes against Premature - Termination Disease.
MARCH 2013 New Molecular Cell publication from Phil Zamore's Lab:
Li, X. Z., Roy, C. K., Dong, X., Bolcun-Filas, E., Wang, J., Han, B. W., Xu, J., Moore, M. J., Schimenti, J. C., Weng, Z., and Zamore, P. D. (2013). An Ancient Transcription Factor Initiates the Burst of piRNA Production during Early Meiosis in Mouse Testes. Mol Cell 50, 67-81.
JANUARY 30, 2013 Craig Mello, at opening of Albert Sherman Center, "The world will remember what we do here.." For full article, click here
JANUARY 1, 2013 EMBO Fellowship for Joerg Braun
Postdoctoral associate Joerg Braun, in the Moore Lab, was awarded an EMBO Long-Term fellowship for his proposal "Single molecule analysis of mammalian spliceosome assembly." This fellowship will support Joerg's work on the molecular mechanism of alternative splcing of pre-mRNAs. Alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs allows the synthesis of multiple proteins from a single gene and is considered as a critical source of complexity in higher eukaryotes, especially in mammals. Joerg is studying the mechanism of splicing in mammals with single molecule techniques in collaboration with the Gelles laboratory at Brandeis University. His work aims to improve our understanding of the regulation of human gene expression and pave the way to address diseases caused by aberrant spicing.
DECEMBER 2012 Paper from Han Lab featured in Nanotech News of National Cancer Institute
"Nanoparticles Glow through Thick Layer of Tissue" An international research team has created unique photoluminescent nanoparticles that shine clearly through more than three centimeters, or more than an inch, of biological tissue, a depth that makes them a promising tool for deep-tissue optical bioimaging. For full article, click here
DECEMBER 17, 2012 News from the Luban Lab
Though retroviruses like HIV are best known as the cause of diseases such as AIDS, a huge portion of the human genome consists of fossil remnants of retrovirus infection from millions of years ago. The Luban Lab has discovered that one of these so-called endogenous retroviruses generates RNA that is likely to be essential for human pluripotent stem cells. Ongoing work at UMass to understand the role of this endogenous retrovirus in stem cells will aid attempts to harness stem cells for therapies of a wide-range of human diseases.
DECEMBER 10, 2012 David Grunwald PhD receives CFAR development grant
DECEMBER 3, 2012 Anastasia Khvorova PhD joins RTI
Dr. Khvorova brings outstanding accomplishment and innovation as a team leader and chief science officer with major oligonucleotide reagent and pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Khvorova's lab will focus on the development of novel oligonucleotide-based therapeutics and drug development; mechanism of small RNA trafficking; RNA medicinal chemistry and delivery.
NOVEMBER 1, 2012 RNA silencing to treat Huntington's disease
Two UMass Medical School researchers report on promising new developments in the quest for a treatment for Huntington's disease in the Thursday, Nov. 1, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. More...
OCTOBER 17, 2012 UMMS, Carnegie Institute receive U.S. patent for RNAi
Discovery by Mello, Fire holds the promise of shutting down disease-causing genes in humans. More...
JUNE 19, 2012 Victor R. Ambros PhD receives Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
With collaborator Gary B. Ruvkun PhD, of Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the two were awarded the 2012 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research today by Johnson & Johnson for their co-discovery of microRNA (also known as miRNA), tiny molecules that are now understood to play a powerful role in gene expression and regulation. For the full article click here
MAY 15, 2012 David Grunwald PhD joins RTI Dr. David Grunwald has decided to join the RTI faculty. He started his own group two years ago at the Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands. Dr. Gruenwald's lab is working on the interface between microscopy development and (nuclear) cell biology, with a strong focus on the travels of mRNA and nucleocytoplasmic transport. Observing the functions of individual molecules within high resolution spatial topographies with millisecond dynamics adds a unique perspective on the function of the living cell. Dr. Grunwald will move his lab to the new Albert Sherman building in early 2013.
MAY 1, 2012 Jane Freedman PhD one of two sites chosen for Translational Research Centers in Thrombotic and Hemostatic Disorders clinical studies using miRNA/mRNA.
This NIH U54 award will utilize multiple technologies and screening of an early-phase translation mRNA nanochip in humans with metabolic syndromes and determine the impact on thrombosis. Jane Freedman, MD, Director Translational Research Professor in Medicine, was awarded $3,355,400 to complete 3 clinical and translational studies over five years examining the role of mRNA and miRNA in obesity and weight loss and cardiovascular disease.
MARCH 4, 2012 Potential therapy for dyslipidemia & other diseases caused by miRNA deregulation. Long-term, efficient inhibition of microRNA function in mice using rAAV vectors. Xie J, Ameres SL,Friedline R, Hung JH, Zhang Y, Xie Q, Zhong L, Su Q, He R, Li M, Li H, Mu X, Zhang H, Broderick JA, Kim JK, Weng Z, Flotte TR, Zamore PD, Gao G. Nat Methods. 2012 Mar 4;9(4):403-9
JULY 18, 2011 Investiture Melissa Moore, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, was invested as the Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research.
APRIL 27, 2011 Melissa Moore PhD win Gates Foundation grant
Grand Challenge Exploration grant was awarded to Melissa J. Moore, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair of Cancer Research, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology to pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “siRNA-based Therapeutics for Preeclampsia.”
APRIL 19, 2011 RNAi-Based Therapeutic Review is published
RNAi-based therapeutic strategies for metabolic diseases
Michael P. Czech, Myriam Aouadi and Gregory J. Tesz Nat. Rev. Endocrinol. 7, 473–484 (2011)
MARCH 21, 2011 Encapsulation technology for potential RNAi therapeutics
Glucan particles for selective delivery of siRNA to phagocytic cells in mice
Gregory J. Tesz1, Myriam Aouadi1, Matthieu Prot, Sarah M. Nicoloro, Emilie Boutet, Shinya U. Amano, Anca Goller, Mengxi Wang, Chang‑An Guo, William E. Salomon, Joseph V. Virbasius, Rebecca A. Baum, Mark J. O'Connor, Ernesto Soto, Gary R. Ostroff and Michael P. Czech2 Biochem. J. (2011) 436, 351–362
MARCH 19, 2011 Gene Therapy Center a step closer to treating Central Nervous System disorders. MicroRNA-regulated, systemically delivered rAAV9: a step closer to CNS-restricted transgene expression. Xie J, Xie Q, Zhang H, Ameres SL, Hung JH, Su Q, He R, Mu X, Seher Ahmed S, Park S, Kato H, Li C, Mueller C, Mello CC, Weng Z, Flotte TR, Zamore PD, Gao G.Mol Ther. 2011 Mar;19(3):526-35.
JANUARY 2011 UMass Medical School and Lundbeck Inc. announce collaboration Neil Aronin, MD, professor in medicine and cell biology, announced a research collaboration aimed at further development of a targeted therapy to slow or halt the progression of Huntington's disease using RNAi.
NOVEMBER 2010 Move Date is Announced
The RNA Therapeutic Institute is happy to announce it will be moving into the newly built Albert Sherman Center in March of 2013. To learn more about this exciting move and to see the RTI floor plan, click here.
OCTOBER 2010 UMMS Faculty Become Affiliates Of The RTI
The Directors of the RTI reached out around the UMMS campus to a vast variety of MD's and PhD's to begin building a team of outstanding researchers with specific interests and skills to have daily operational contact, in hopes to investigate ways to create new therapies that can be moved from the bench top to the bedside.
JULY 2010 RTI hires first Recruit
Andrei Korostelev PhD, has joined us from the University of California Santa Cruz, where he studied bacterial translation in the lab of Harry F. Noller. Dr. Korostelev will study translation and translation regulation in bacteria and eukaryotes using a combination of X-ray crystallography and biochemistry. Dr. Korostelev lab will be temporally housed in the biochemistry & molecular pharmacology until the RTI moves in 2013.
JUNE 2009 RNA Leadership Announced
Chancellor Michael Collins and Dean Terrence Flotte announced the leadership plan for the RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) – a key component of our Advanced Therapeutics Cluster. An executive group has been formed to govern the new institute. This group will work as a team to recruit new faculty and design the new home for RNA Therapeutics within the Albert Sherman Center.
The executive group will be led by Nobel Laureate Craig C. Mello, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and professor of molecular medicine and cell biology. The three other directors will be Melissa J. Moore, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology; Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator,Gretchen Stone Cook Chair in Biomedical Sciences and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology; and Victor Ambros, PhD, Silverman Chair in Natural Sciences and professor of molecular medicine.