Health Research and Policy


DATE: October 17, 2013
TIME: 1:15 - 3:00 pm
LOCATION: Medical School Office Building, Rm x303
TITLE: A Hidden RNA Galaxy and What Lies Ahead
SPEAKER: Julia Salzman
Acting Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, Stanford

It is well known that the vast majority of human genes encode alternatively spliced linear RNA molecules called RNA isoforms. Discovery of new sequences variation in expressed RNAs is an area of ongoing bioinformatics and applied statistical research, with thousands of studies published with the goal of identifying novel RNA isoforms, that is, expressed RNA sequence variants.

Using basic statistical methods, we recently discovered a large class of RNA molecules that were missed in these studies: circular RNA. I will discuss how we made this finding as well as statistical algorithms and applied analysis that we have subsequently developed. These tools are motivated by our ongoing study circular RNA, but have general application to discovery and quantification of RNA isoforms. Time permitting, I will outline some of the many unanswered questions raised by our finding that circular RNA is a ubiquitous feature of eukaryotic gene expression.

Suggested readings:
J Salzman, C Gawad, PL Wang, N Lacayo and P Brown. Circular RNAs are the predominant transcript Isoform from hundreds of human genes in diverse cell types. PLOS one.

S Memczak, M Jens, A Elefsinioti, et al. Circular RNAs are a large class of animal RNAs with regulatory potency. Nature 495(7441), 333-338.

J Salzman, R Chen, M Olsen, P Wang and P Brown. Cell-type specific features of circular RNA expression. PLOS Genetics.

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