Focus of research

My research aims at understanding the biological relevance of non-coding RNAs in the human genome and how their deregulation is contributing to disease such as cancer. While 2% of the genome encodes for proteins, approximately 75% of the human genome is transcribed, potentially leading to the expression of various types of non-coding RNA (ncRNA). Long non-coding RNAs (LncRNAs) recently emerged as potent regulators of key cellular processes that are often deregulated in cancer. Because of their exceptional tissue and tumor-specificity, these regulatory RNAs represent promising targets for cancer therapy and might provide unique opportunities for disease monitoring through liquid biopsies.

To globally assess the functional relevance of lncRNAs we have developed a strong expertise with CRISPR\Cas systems, which allows us to build comprehensive custom pooled guide RNA (gRNA) libraries and to perform large scale dropout screens in various cellular models. We have also established a collaboration with Alnylam pharmaceuticals (expert in RNAi-based therapy) to accelerate the tralsation of our findings.

We are also evaluating the potential of circulating lncRNAs for diagnostic purposes. We have formed a consortium with Firalis (a company experienced with biomarker discovery) and use their expertise to develop diagnostic tools in colorectal cancer.