Jacob Polaski received a Young Investigator Award from the Edward P. Evans Foundation. Jacob proposed to determine how recurrent mutations affecting the RNA splicing factor ZRSR2 cause MDS and find potential new ways of treating patients with those mutations.
Guo-Liang Chew accepted a position as Special Fellow at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore. Guo-Liang's lab will study cancer-immune interactions and the intersection between developmental and cancer biology.
Emma De Neef received a predoctoral fellowship from the Chromosome Metabolism and Cancer Training Grant. Emma proposed to determine how recurrent mutations in SF3B1, which encodes an RNA splicing factor, contribute to cancer initiation and influence treatment possibilities.
James Thomas received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Washington Research Foundation. James proposed to develop new technologies to manipulate RNA isoform expression and dissect the functional contributions of individual isoforms to cancer initiation and progression.
Jacob Polaski received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Chromosome Metabolism and Cancer Training Grant. Jacob proposed to determine how recurrent mutations in UPF1, which encodes a core component of the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay machinery, contribute to pancreatic adenosquamous carcinoma.
Sujatha Jagannathan accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, as part of the RNA Bioscience Initiative. Suja's lab will study RNA surveillance, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, and many other topics.
Heidi Dvinge accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Heidi's lab will study splicing in cancer, non-coding components of the spliceosome, and many other topics.
Qing Feng was named a recipient of the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award. This award recognizes exceptional scientific achievement during PhD studies in biology. Awardees are selected from graduate students nominated by their host institutions across the US.
Robert Bradley was named a recipient of the newly created President's Young Investigator Award at Fred Hutch. This award provides funding for unrestricted research, which will help the lab to open new research directions such as therapeutic target identification.
Guo-Liang "Chewie" Chew received the Mahan Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Computational Biology Program at Fred Hutch. Chewie proposed to study the biology of retroelements, repetitive DNA sequences that constitute a large fraction of the human genome, and their interactions with RNA surveillance pathways such as nonsense-mediated decay. Chewie proposed to determine differences in retroelement regulation and expression in normal and disease states to gain insight into the physiological roles played by these poorly understood genomic elements.
Sujatha Jagannathan received a postdoctoral fellowship from the FSH Society. Suja proposed that RNA quality control pathways may be less efficient in muscle cells of patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). FSHD is caused by inappropriate expression of the disease gene DUX4 in skeletal muscle of affected individuals, but the origins of DUX4's toxicity are not known. In the model that Suja proposed, reduced RNA surveillance efficiency permits normally degraded aberrant RNAs to become stably expressed in DUX4-expressing cells, thereby contributing to multiple aspects of the disease.
Heidi Dvinge received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program. Heidi proposed to determine how the RNA components of the spliceosome contribute to breast cancer. These spliceosomal RNAs are best known for playing basal roles in splicing catalysis, and are not typically studied in the context of splicing regulation or dysregulation in disease. Heidi found evidence that spliceosomal RNAs may play important roles in the progression of "triple-negative" breast cancers, which are frequently aggressive and difficult to treat with currently available therapies.
Robert Bradley was named a New Scholar in Aging by the Ellison Medical Foundation. Rob proposed to determine how RNA quality control efficiency changes with age. Decreased RNA surveillance activity could lead to higher levels of aberrant, normally degraded mRNAs, ultimately contributing to aging-related protein aggregation and misfolding disorders.
Janine Ilagan received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Chromosome Metabolism and Cancer Training Grant. Janine proposed to determine how mutations affecting the protein components of the spliceosome contribute to blood disorders, including leukemias. Recently, RNA splicing factors were identified as common mutational targets in myelodysplastic syndromes and related disorders. These mutations directly implicate RNA splicing factors in tumorigenesis, but their functional consequences are unknown. Janine is determining how these mutations alter the normal roles of splicing factors, ultimately contributing to dysplastic hematopoiesis.