We investigate the regulation and function of the mRNA cap, a modification of RNA essential for gene expression which integrates transcript processing and translation. We are beginning to understand how oncogenes and signalling pathways can regulate gene expression via regulation of mRNA capping enzymes. Signalling pathways which modify the mRNA capping enzymes have the potential to change the gene expression landscape, thus causing changes in cell physiology.
Our research takes a comprehensive approach including biochemistry, cell biology (immunology and stem cell biology), molecular biology and mass spectrometry, taking advantage of the latest technologies and vast expertise available at the college of life sciences. We collaborate with the Dundee Drug Discovery Unit to explore the therapeutic potential of inhibiting mRNA cap formation in cancers.
Potential projects include
1. Investigating mRNA cap regulation and function in embryonic stem cells. The student will investigate how mRNA cap formation is regulated by developmental cues in embryonic stem cells, and how this process reshapes gene expression profiles and determines cell fate.
2. Investigating mRNA cap regulation and function in T lymphocytes.
The student will investigate how mRNA cap formation is regulated during T cell development and activation, and the impact that this has on gene expression and immune function.