Research in our lab focuses on regulation of gene expression by non-coding RNAs and chromatin. We study the biogenesis and function of piRNAs, one of the three major classes of small non-coding RNA that protects animal genomes against transposable elements. We investigate how piRNAs guide transcriptional repression and how nuage – the peculiar subcellular compartment that has liquid-droplet properties and harbors the molecular machinery involved in piRNA biogenesis – is assembled and how it functions. We are also interested in the evolutionary origin of small non-coding RNA (RNAi) processes. To understand evolutionary origin of RNAi, our lab studies the functions of Argonaute proteins, the central players of RNAi pathways, in several bacterial species. Beyond understanding the biology of RNAi the lab explores the possibility to use bacterial RNAi as a new tool for (epi)genome engineering.

Awards and Achievements

  • HHMI Faculty Scholar