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Jackson Laboratory Team Wins $2.1M NIH Grant to Develop RNA Analysis Tech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded a Jackson Laboratory research team a five-year, $2.1 million grant to develop a computational system for studying the relationship between RNA structure and function.

With the funding, Jax investigator Zhengqing Ouyang and colleagues aim to create a novel analytic framework that uses high-throughput databases to infer RNA structure at the transcriptome level and enables analyses in specific cellular model systems, the grant's abstract states.

Examples of such analyses include characterizing the diversity of specific RNA structures that regulate RNA-protein interactions in a human cancer cell line, and dissecting the roles of RNA structure in modulating interactions between RNA and proteins shown to be essential for translational regulation of stem cell self-renewal and early embryogenesis.

The investigators plan to validate their framework through collaborations with experimental biologists to investigate the roles of RNA structure in human diseases such as neurological disorders and cancer. The ultimate goal of the project, Ouyang said in a statement, is to "provide a precise genomic blueprint for clinical diagnoses and prognoses, as well as develop new and more effective therapies."

The grant began on Aug. 15 and runs until July 21, 2022.