My research program revolves around how functional information can be stored and timely unlocked from within the structures of non-protein coding RNA, to guide exquisitely precise mechanisms of translational control, RNAi, epigenetics, and genome edition.
Recently, the RNAi pathways (which shut down gene expression and are guided by RNA) emerged as major players in cancer-related processes ranging from tumourigenesis, to angiogenesis, to tumour progression, to treatment resistance. In hindsight, it is not surprising that such important gene regulation mechanisms may be tweaked, amplified, or deleted under the selective pressures that prevail within tumours. Hence, a main theme of my research program is to decipher how the molecular ‘languages' of double-stranded RNA, such as RNAi and microRNA-mediated silencing, are altered in cancer.
For this, his team deploys a wide range of tools which include genetics, biochemistry, proteomics, genomics and genome edition, in experimental systems such as the nematode C. elegans and in various mammalian models.