News from the RNA Bioscience Initiative

RBI PostDoc Extraordinaire, Steve Bonilla, Publishes in Science

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!

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Evaluation Determines RBI Pilot Grant Program a Massive Success

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!

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RBI RNA Scholar Brenna Dennison Defends Thesis

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. 

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Congratulations to Our New RBI Pilot Grant Awardees

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!
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RBI Announces New RNA Scholars

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 RNA biology.
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RBI Graduate Student, Evan Morrison, Wins HHMI Gilliam Award

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.
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Rissland Wins National Science Foundation Career Award

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. 
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Taliaferro and Pearson Secure Funding from W.M. Keck Foundation

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.

Jagannathan Awarded Grant by the FSHD Society

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!
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Former RBI Scholar, Brenna Dennison, Manuscript Featured in Development

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. 
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Current RBI Scholar, Divya Kolakada, Awarded Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association

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.
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Former RBI Postdoc, Tassa Saldi, Featured in the June Edition of CU Anschutz Alumni Pulse

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.
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RBI Now Accepting Applications for the RNA Scholars Program

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).
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RBI Co-Director Discusses the Future of mRNA Technology on 9News Next with Kyle Clark

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 vaccine.
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RBI Announces New Round of Interdisciplinary Pilot Grant Funding- Apply Now!

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 ProgramApplications 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. 
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Research by RBI Faculty Featured by CU Cancer Center

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.
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RBI Postdoctoral Scholar, Steve Bonilla, Awarded Prestigious HHMI Hanna Gray Fellowship

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.
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Former RBI Scholar's Manuscript Featured as Cover Story in Plos Biology

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.
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RBI Announces New RNA Scholars

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.
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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.

Cohrs Leverages RBI Expertise to Earn New NIH-R01

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.

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Jagannathan Wins FSHD Society 2020 Young Investigator Award

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.
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Ramachandran Named 2020 Pew-Stewart Scholar for Cancer Research

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.
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