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Research Overview

Our group is focused on determination of function of long non-protein coding RNAs (lncRNAs). It has recently become clear that the mammalian genomes are almost entirely transcribed leading to the generation of the tens of thousands of ncRNAs. Few studies performed so far on biological role of lncRNAs suggest extremely diverse mechanisms of action of this class of transcripts. Computational prediction of lncRNA function thus faces a serious challenge of decoding the information contained within the sequence of these molecules. We aim to develop a novel computational framework for functional and structural analyses of lncRNAs that integrate high-throughput expression profile data related to transcriptional control of lncRNA, secondary structure of these molecules, evolutionary conservation of sequence, and functional annotation of co-expressed protein-coding RNAs. Consequently, the predictions are validated through wet-lab experimentation.

In particular, we are interested in exploring the role played by lncRNAs secreted via exosome nanovesicles and their utilization as potential biomarkers for various diseases including cancer, inflammation and metabolic disorders. We are also investigating lncRNAs responsive to environmental stress conditions and their potential link to cellular senescence and cancer.
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