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RNA Innovation Seminar: Lydia Contreras, UT Austin

Monday, June 5, 2023 @ 4:00 pm

“Mapping Novel RNA Regulatory Networks”
Lydia Contreras, Ph.D.
Professor-Chemical Engineering
Interdisciplinary Life Science Graduate Program
University of Texas at Austin


In-person: BSRB ABC Seminar Rooms / hybrid link

Abstract: While advances in omics-based technologies has led to the discovery of hundreds of sRNAs, their identification and characterization has lagged. Even in the model gram-negative organism, Escherichia coli, only ~40% and 60% of sRNAs have had at least one transcriptional regulator or post-transcriptional target confirmed, respectively. Additionally, the mechanistic roles of RNA-binding proteins in sRNA regulation remains elusive. This gap can be partly attributed to the selective nature of corresponding high-throughput techniques that typically rely on traditional sRNA features, such as basic promoter-based transcriptional regulation and dependence on RNA binding proteins for target activity. Additionally, lowly expressed sRNAs in commonly tested conditions are oftentimes missed. To better characterize these non-traditional and elusive sRNAs, we devised a holistic multi-tiered approach using in vivo omics datasets over a variety of cellular conditions. In this talk, we will describe our recent advances in developing high throughput approaches that allow for the simultaneous in vivo characterization of functional regions within RNA molecules. We will describe how RNA insights obtained from these synthetic probing approach can be used in the basic characterization of newly discovered RNAs and in the discovery of novel RNA mechanisms. The talk will also highlight our use of these methods in conjunction with new biophysical model and machine learning approaches for expanding our understanding of sRNA-regulation.


Monday, June 5, 2023
4:00 pm