UNC Lineberger Creates RNA Discovery Center

Chad Pecot, MD, an associate professor of medicine and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, will lead the new center dedicated to investigating the many roles of RNA in health and disease.


Funded by the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UNC RNA Discovery Center will cultivate an inclusive community of scientists dedicated to exploring all aspects of RNA biology, some of which have already been implicated in human disease and some of which we are very aware of. know little about .

Led by Director Chad Pecot, MD, UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine’s Division of Oncology in the UNC Department of Medicine, the new center includes UNC’s multidisciplinary group of renowned RNA scientists, including co-directors of downtown and UNC Lineberger members:

  • Amy Gladfelter, PhD, professor of biology (RNA subcellular localization)
  • Qi Zhang, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics, (RNA structure)
  • Mauro Calabrese, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology (RNA transcription)
  • Bill Marzluff, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics (RNA Processing); and
  • Keriayn Smith, PhD, assistant professor of genetics (director of training & excellence)

“Our main goals are to recruit and train the world’s top talent in RNA research,” Pecot said, “to make significant discoveries in the basic and translational sciences, to understand the various roles of RNA in health and disease.” and to develop RNA-based tools and medicines to help the people of North Carolina and around the world We are also creating a strong environment of diversity, equality and inclusion, and we intend to be aware of how we are traditionally disadvantaged support trainees.”

The center supports graduate and post-doctoral scholarships, collaborations between faculties and various key figures to support the infrastructure of the center. “The center will also begin applying for collaborative funding mechanisms ranging from multi-PI R01s, fundamental grants to program project grants,” Pecot added.

The RNA Discovery Center is growing rapidly and already includes faculties from the UNC School of Medicine, UNC Lineberger, the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Contact Chad Pecot for more information.

Here is a full list of current center researchers:

Kevin Weeks, PhD, Chemistry, UNC Lineberger (RNA structure)

Alain Laederach, PhD, Biology, UNC Lineberger (structure and computer science; translation)

Silvia Ramos, MD, PhD, Biochemistry & Biophysics, UNC Lineberger (RNA-binding proteins, animal models)

Sarah Linnstaedt, PhD, Anesthesiology (miRNA mechanisms and biomarkers)

Dan Dominguez, PhD, Pharmacology, UNC Lineberger (Alternative Splicing)

Hector Franco, PhD, Genetics, UNC Lineberger (Alternative Splicing, Enhancer RNAs)

Jimena Guidice, PhD, Cell Biology & Physiology (Alternative Splicing, Animal Models)

Greg Matera, PhD, Biology, UNC Lineberger (animal models)

Jesse Raab, PhD, Genetics, UNC Lineberger (animal models)

Stan Lemon, MD, Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, UNC Lineberger, Global Health (RNA viruses)

Nat Moorman, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology, UNC Linberger (RNA viruses)

Tim Sheahan, PhD, Gillings (RNA viruses)

Mark Heise, PhD, Genetics, UNC Lineberger, Global Health (RNA viruses)

Craig Cameron, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology (RNA viruses)

Paul Armistead, MD, PhD, Medicine, UNC Lineberger (Splicing, Neoantigens and mRNA Vaccines)

Leaf Huang, PhD, Eshelman, Biomedical Engineering, UNC Lineberger (nano formulation of RNAs)

Owen Fenton, PhD, Eshelman (Nano formulation of RNAs)

Ronit Freeman, PhD, Applied Sciences, UNC Lineberger (synthetic RNA)

Todd Cohen, PhD, Neurology, Neuroscience Research Center

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