Nuclear Organization & Gene Expression
Almost all of the functions in a cell or organism can trace their beginnings to the cell nucleus with the turn on of a gene, processing of its RNA, and subsequent transport of that RNA into the cytoplasm where it is synthesized into a protein. Yet very little is known about how these events are spatially and temporally coordinated within the context of the nucleus to allow for the regulation of accurate gene expression; or how they go awry resulting in various types of cancer. Our laboratory has focused on implementing innovative approaches to image gene expression within the context of the living cell. Such approaches allow us to gain important insight into the spatial and temporal aspects of gene expression that are difficult, if not impossible, to acquire using in vitro approaches.
To complement our cell biological studies we have taken a molecular approach to identify and characterize long nuclear retained non-coding RNAs that have roles in regulating various aspects of gene expression or nuclear organization and play a role in cancer and/or development. Together, our studies will elucidate new insights into the regulation of gene expression and how it can be manipulated to positively impact disease outcome.