RNA Systems Biology Laboratory

About the RNA Systems Biology Laboratory

The RNA Systems Biology Laboratory is the laboratory of Associate Professor Traude Beilharz within the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute.

The RNA Systems Biology Laboratory asks how cells regulate the birth, life and death of RNA molecules using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).

We are experiencing a major re-think in cell biology. Up until very recently, the major focus in gene-regulation was on DNA and DNA-binding proteins. However, it turns out that RNA is not just a passive intermediary between DNA and proteins; RNA also has structural and regulatory functions in addition to its coding functions. Therefore, the RNA Systems Biology Laboratory is interested in how both coding and non-coding RNA is expressed and regulated in cells, and how the fine-tuning of this expression, which differentiates health from disease, is maintained.

NGS provides a holistic, systems level view of the RNA expression profile in cells, and since disease often leaves signature fingerprints of deregulation on such profiles, NGS can be a powerful diagnostic for various disease states including for cancer. The RNA Biology laboratory uses custom RNA-seq technologies in a diverse set of model organism and cultured-cells to study RNA dynamics. Specifically, we are interested in the post-transcriptional regulation of RNA that determines when, where and how often mRNA is translated to make proteins. Because we seek to understand how every RNA in our system is regulated, our experiments often have 100s of millions of data-points and thus require the input of computational biologists.