The main focus of our lab is studying various facets of RNA biology from a quantitative, systems viewpoint. Some topics of interest are:
- The role of non-coding RNAs in regulating gene expression.
- Studying single cell gene expression in cancer.
- The influence of chromosome structure upon gene expression.
- Homeostatic properties of transcription
Our primary tool is a in situ RNA detection method (FISH) that Arjun developed initially during his Ph.D. and applied to various developmental systems during his postdoc (read more here). This method relies on hybridizing many fluorescent molecules to the target RNA, thereby rendering it visible as a small spot in a fluorescence microscope. This method gives us quantitative information about RNA abundance and localization.
During his postdoc, Arjun showed that random variability in gene expression underlies the common genetic phenomenon of partial penetrance of mutant phenotypes, in which even genetically identical mutant organisms will display the mutant phenotype only some fraction of the time. Check out this slidecast to hear a short talk about this project.
Our work is funded by the NIH and the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund.