News from the RNA Bioscience Initiative
January 1, 2023
RBI's Dr. Jeff Kieft will begin his next great scientific adventure May 1, 2023. Jeff's contributions to RBI are innumerable and he will be greatly missed! Thanks so much for your scientific brilliance, patient teaching, and active leadership. Best always!
December 20, 2022
Learn how the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is working across institutions, medical specialties and communities to advance research that's changing the world. Dr. Mukherjee does a fantastic job narrating large portions of the video. Congratulations
December 1, 2022
The highest of high fives to RBI's latest DOCTOR, Rachel Jones, PhD! Dr. Jones successfully defended her thesis "Uncovering the rules of resistant RNA knots: lessons from the Tamana Bat Virus xrRNA" in front of colleagues, friends and family. Congratulations!
November 15, 2022
Congratulations to Jay Hesselberth, PhD for being recognized yet again for his collaborative prowess. The RBI co-director, along with Ondrej Kostov, PhD from CU Boulder, was awarded a Fall 2022 AB Nexus grant designed to support cross-campus research projects. Find out more about their project Gene-specific antisense oligonucleotide therapies for diseases of haploinsufficiency and the AB Nexus program via this link.
October 11, 2022
The latest round of RBI Pilot Grants netted 9 applications and 5 awards. These awards will enable SOM investigators from 3 unique departments (Immunology & Microbiology, Pharmacology, and BMG) to add the latest RNA-based technologies to their research
programs. Well done all!
September 30, 2022
Dr. Mukherjee was interviewed about his work by Niki Spahich for the Scientist Speaks podcast. In this episode they discuss the role of RNA decay in regulating blood pressure, and its implications in hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
October 12, 2022
The recipients of the 2022 CU Anschutz Research Awards were announced in the October 5th issue of the University Research Bulletin. The awardees were selected from more than 100 nominees, reflecting the depth and strength of the CU Anschutz research community. Congratulations to Jay for this well-deserved acknowledgement of his dedication to extending RNA research across disciplines!
October 7, 2022
Dr. Johnson, with assistance from Emma Robinson, PhD, Srinivas Ramachandran, PhD, and Catherine Musselman, PhD, organized this highly collaborative meeting featuring scientists from around Colorado. This year's symposium focused largely on cancer and was co-sponsored by the CU Cancer Center's Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program.
October 6, 2022
RNA polymerase travels along each gene from beginning to end and makes an RNA copy of the genetic code. New research from the Bentley lab shows that the RNA polymerase likes to “take a break” or “pause” in a zone at the beginning of genes. Control of this pausing likely impacts how genetic information is accessed and used to control living cells.
September 14, 2022
On this very rainy Wednesday evening in September Rissland and Rao spoke to an audience of ~30 community members about how mRNA was used to combat the COVID19 pandemic. Their presentation was followed by a lively discussion with attendees. This program was the inaugural event of a new collaboration between the Tattered Cover and the CU Anschutz Office of Research Education to expand scientific literacy.
August 25, 2022
Read about how Dr. Ramachandran in collaboration with Peter Kabos, MD (CU Medical Oncology) designed a simple blood test to screen for breast cancer, obviating the need for invasive biopsy. The test relies on using modern sequencing techniques to map estrogen receptors and FOXA1 in cell-free DNA from patient derived plasma.
RBI's Quentin Vicens, PhD, in collaboration with BMG's Beat Vogeli, have been awarded a multi-year NSF Grant titled Structural characterization of the mechanism leading to recognition of Alu elements by the Z-RNA-binding domain of ADAR1. Preliminary
work supported in part by an RBI pilot grant (to QV) enabled the pair to shape one of their three specific aims around monitoring of differential editing and characterization of ADAR1 binding sites using next-generation sequencing. Congratulations
Quentin and Beat!
The highest of high fives to RBI's latest DOCTORS, Laura White, PhD (Hesselberth Lab), Sara Espinosa, PhD (Zhao Lab), and Rae Goering, PhD (Taliaferro Lab)! Each of them successfully defended their thesis in July/August and are moving on
to postdoctoral positions. Well done all!
August 1, 2022
In order to enhance basic science, translational, and clinical studies on the CU Anschutz Campus, the RNA Bioscience Initiative (RBI) supports RNA biology research, particularly RNA-seq and other informatic intensive, cutting-edge technologies via its
Pilot Grant Program. Fall 2022 features long read RNA sequencing (Oxford Nanopore), ribosome profiling, mRNA packaging in lipid nanoparticles– applications
are invited for investigator-initiated pilot projects that will generate preliminary data to test the feasibility of novel avenues of research and will support future extramural grant applications. LOI due August 15; Applications due September 19.
June 5, 2022
Many congratulations to Dr. Jillian Ramos (Kieft Lab) for receiving the Research Excellence by an Underrepresented Scientist award, and to poster winners Dr. Laura White (Hesselberth Lab), Dr. Allison Swain (Johnson Lab), and graduate student
Elizabeth Spear (Kieft Lab). Way to go all!
Read More about Dr. Ramos View Photo of Poster Winners (scroll down to the bottom after opening link)
April 25, 2022
We encourage you to watch the latest video from the RNA Bioscience Initiative. In this video RBI co-founder and co-director, Dr. David Bentley, deftly explains the nature of RNA in simple, accessible terms. Please share this video with friends and family
and help us expand understanding of RNA and RNA research to a broader audience.
April 15, 2022
Read about the many ways the RNA Bioscience Initiative at CU Anschutz is transforming our campus. Learn how RBI researchers Olivia Rissland, DPhil, and Suja Jagannathan, PhD, are pushing the boundaries of RNA Biology.
April 14, 2022
The latest round of RBI Pilot Grant awardees have been selected. Each project seeks to expand their understanding of complex transcriptional landscapes within a spatial context, using cutting-edge molecular profiling methods to measure all the
gene activity in a tissue sample and map where the activity is occurring. Such experiments are essential for the understanding the biology of health vs. disease. Congratulations to Santos Franco, PhD (Pediatrics- Developmental Biology) and
Katharina Hopp (Medicine- Renal Diseases and Hypertension)!
April 13, 2022
Many congratulations to Olivia for reaching this milestone! Find out more about the Rissland lab and their cutting-edge investigation of RNA stability and translation.
March 25, 2022
Many congratulations to Michael, a 2017-2018 RBI RNA Scholar and Bentley Lab graduate! Currently a member of the Jagannathan Lab, this award recognizes Cortazar Osorio's work on RNA decay and its role in disease.
March 18, 2022
Congratulations to RBI's newest doctors, Claire Gillette, PhD, Kimberley Wellman, PhD, and Justin Roberts, PhD! Each of them successfully defended their thesis in March and are moving on to new postdoctoral positions. Well done all!
February 2, 2022
In order to enhance basic science, translational, and clinical studies on the CU Anschutz Campus, the RNA Bioscience Initiative (RBI) supports RNA biology research, particularly RNA-seq and other informatic intensive, cutting-edge technologies via its Pilot Grant Program. Spring 2022 features Spatial Transcriptomics – applications are invited for investigator-initiated pilot projects that will generate preliminary data to test the feasibility of novel avenues of research and will support future extramural grant applications.
December 22, 2021
CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Ramos! This award acknowledges exceptional contributions to RNA science by a trainee who is underrepresented in biomedical research. Jillian was recognized for her "contributions to understanding tRNA structure and function, combined with her outreach, mentoring and education activities."Read More
December 15, 2021
The RBI Summer Internship Program is a PAID, 10-week hands-on, mentored research opportunity for undergraduates who want to gain real-world laboratory experience in RNA biology, chemistry, biochemistry, genomics, and bioinformatics.Apply Now
December 9, 2021
CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Swain! This grant from NIH-NIDCR, titled N6-methyladenosine in Candida white-opaque switching and oral infection, will provide an additional 2 years of postdoctoral support ($90,000 per year) AND $249,000/year for 3 years upon starting an independent lab as a faculty member.Read More
November 18, 2021
This study reveals how viral RNAs can use a combination of static and dynamic RNA structures to bind host machinery through highly noncanonical interactions, and highlights the utility of cryo-EM for visualizing small, conformationally dynamic structured RNAs.
Congratulations to Steve and his co-authors Maddie Sherlock, Andrea MacFadden, and Jeff Kieft!
November 18, 2021
A comprehensive evaluation of the RBI Pilot Grant Program recently revealed a success story beyond our wildest dreams. Investigators were able to leverage data from their RBI pilot grant awards into $56,540,451 worth of additional grant funding. This represents a return on investment (ROI) of 2172%!!! Special thanks to the RBI Informatics Fellows and the entire RBI team for their hard work!Read More
September 28, 2021
CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Dennison! Brenna completed her graduate work "Srsf3 mediates alternative RNA splicing downstream of PDGFRa signaling in the facial mesenchyme" in the Fantauzzo Lab- Department of Craniofacial Biology, School of Dental Medicine.Read More
September 1, 2021
The latest round of RBI Pilot Grants netted 59 applications and 20 awards. These awards will enable investigators from two different schools (School of Medicine and School of Pharmaceutical Sciences), representing seven unique departments and 6
divisions, to add RNA-based technologies to their research programs. Congratulations to all!
August 30, 2021
Congratulations to Lorraine Davis, Arely Diaz, Hei-Yong Grant Lo, and Cormac Lucas the RBI 2021-2022 RNA Scholars. These four graduate students were selected from a pool of 7 accomplished applicants. Each displays outstanding promise toward advancing
July 22, 2021
RBI's Evan Morrison and his mentor, Olivia Rissland, have been selected as one of 50 new HHMI Gilliam student-advisor pairs. Gilliam fellowships are awarded to outstanding graduate students and their PhD mentors as part of a program to foster diversity and inclusion in biomedical or life science disciplines.
July 15, 2021
The NSF has awarded RBI's Dr. Olivia Rissand a prestigious Early Career Development award to study the maternal-to-zygotic transition in animal embryogenesis. The award will provide $1.3 million dollars of funding over five years.
July 12, 2021
RBI faculty members Matt Taliaferro, PhD and Chad Pearson, PhD, have been awarded a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation for their project Control of cell division through centrosomal RNA localization. The goal of this study is to uncover the identity of centrosomal RNAs essential to the proper regulation of cell division. Given the links between centrosome dysfunction and cancer, it may reveal previously unidentified mechanisms that contribute to tumorigenesis.
July 8, 2021
Dr. Sujatha Jagannathan was recently awarded an investigator-initiated research grant by the FSHD Society. This grant will support her lab's work on identifying the mechanism by which the DUX4 inhibits nonsense-mediated RNA deco (NMD) in the human muscle disease facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Congratulations Suja!
June 29, 2021
Congratulations to former RBI Scholar Brenna Dennison, whose manuscript has been featured in Development. Brenna was an RBI Scholar for the 2019-2020 year, and is currently a PhD student in Dr. Katherine Fantauzzo's lab.
June 8, 2021
Congratulations to Divya Kolakada, current RBI Scholar, for being awarded a Predoctoral Fellowship by the American Heart Society. Currently a PhD student in Dr. Sujatha Jagannathan's lab, Divya's project will be focused on investigating the fate of NMD substrates and their protein products.
June 8, 2021
Find out how Dr. Saldi leveraged her CU Anschutz-RBI training to advance her career. Currently she serves as the laboratory director of the COVID-19 Surveillance Lab at the BioFrontiers Institute and Chief Scientific Officer of TUMI Genomics, a diagnostics company she co-founded in 2020.
May 28, 2021
The RNA Bioscience Initiative financially supports graduate students as part of its education and training program. Eligible applicants are graduate students whose research focuses primarily on RNA, and who have completed two research years in their thesis lab and passed their comprehensive exam (as of August). The RNA Scholar Awards are for 1 year and are not renewable. RBI RNA Scholars will receive $35,000 (towards their stipend) and an additional $2,000 for educational expenses (such as computer, research-relevant software, or travel to a conference).
June 2, 2021
RBI Co-Director, David Bentley, PhD, was interviewed by 9News reporter Anusha Roy and featured on Next with Kyle Clark. In this piece Dr. Bentley expertly describes the future of mRNA technology and its possible therapeutic uses beyond the COVID
Watch the Video
May 18, 2021
In order to enhance basic science, translational, and clinical studies on the CU Anschutz Campus, the RNA Bioscience Initiative (RBI) supports RNA biology research, particularly RNA-seq and other informatic intensive, cutting-edge technologies via its Pilot Grant Program. Applications are invited for investigator-initiated pilot projects that will generate preliminary data to test the feasibility of novel avenues of research and will support future extramural grant applications.
May 18, 2021
Learn about RBI faculty, Rui Zhao, Neel Mukherjee, and Aaron Johnson, and their collective determination to conquer cancer. Their studies of RNA biology demonstrate the paradoxical role of RNA in cancer, as both driver of disease and potential therapy.
February 18, 2021
Steve Bonilla, a postdoctoral fellow in the Kieft Lab, was selected as one of 21 early career researchers recognized by the Howard Hughs Medical Institute (HHMI) as Hanna H. Gray Fellows. Bonilla will receive up to $1.4 million over eight years to expand his ground-breaking work using cryogenic electron microscopy to visualize dynamic RNA structures.
February 8, 2021
Congratulations to former RBI Scholar, Katie Yergert, whose manuscript is featured as the cover piece for the current issue of Plos Biology. Katie was an RBI Scholar for the 2018-2019 year, and is currently working as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Gary
Bassell's laboratory at Emory University.
January 1, 2021
Congratulations to Roberto Castro-Gutierrez, Raeann Goering, Divya Kolakada, Nicole Moss, and Matthew Szucs the RBI 2020-2021 RNA Scholars. These five graduate students were selected from a pool of 9 accomplished applicants. Each displays outstanding
promise toward advancing RNA biology.
Vicens and Kieft Awarded R21 via NIH-NIAID
December 15, 2020
Congratulations to Dr. Quentin Vicens and Dr. Jeffrey Kieft who were awarded an R21 through NIAID. They will be studying viral RNAs resistant to exoribonucleases in the alphavirus supergroup.
November 17, 2020
Congratulations to Dr. Randall Cohrs who was awarded an R01 through NIAID. The goal of Dr. Cohr's project is to study transcription of VLT and ORF 63 to provide insight into molecular mechanisms that regulate VZV latency and reactivation, which will allow his lab to develop novel intervention strategies that effectively target latent VZV and consequently the burden of herpes zoster disease.
Hesselberth Awarded NIH Director’s Transformative Research Grant
October 6, 2020
The RBI co-director was one of nine winners selected to pursue a high-risk high-reward project. Dr. Hesselberth will work to develop new approaches to measure biochemical heterogeneity at single-cell resolution.
Read More (click and scroll down)
August 17, 2020
This RBI faculty member, one of three highly accomplished awardees, was recognized for her groundbreaking work on RNA surveillance and how dysregulation of this process contributes to disease.
June 15, 2020
This RBI faculty member, one of five impressive awardees, is tasked with improving methods for early cancer detection using cell-free DNA.