The grassroots Center for RNA Biomedicine at the University of Michigan involves among its opt-in membership RNA scientists from across the Ann Arbor campus, encompassing all seven Schools and Colleges that are engaged in the Biosciences. The Center’s leadership reflects this diversity of viewpoints and serves to facilitate scientific collaboration.
Co-director Nils Walter, Chemistry, Biophysics, and Biological Chemistry represents the large College of Literature, Science & the Arts, while co-director Mats Ljungman, Radiation Oncology and Environmental Health Sciences, represents the Medical School and the School of Public Health.
Together, they collaborate with an Executive Committee made of eight members who democratically decide on questions of relevance to Center operations. The members include:
- Peter Freddolino, Biological Chemistry and Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics
- Amanda Garner, Medicinal Chemistry
- Sundeep Kalantry, Human Genetics
- Markos Koutmos, Chemistry and Biophysics
- Jayakrishnan Nandakumar, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental
- Melanie Ohi, Life Sciences Institute and Cell and Developmental Biology
- Stephen Parker, Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics and Human Genetics
- Peter Todd, Neurology
The Executive Committee members meet monthly, volunteer their time and commitment to contribute to the Center’s numerous activities. They see their role as supporting the RNA research community at large. Supported by a 5-year Biosciences Initiative Award, they are currently involved with the hiring of an additional four new faculty, following the successful hiring of Stephanie Moon, Human Genetics. They also organize an annual RNA symposium and the Center’s biweekly RNA Innovation seminar series.
Early in 2020, Aaron Frank, Biophysics and Chemistry (see his feature story) stepped down from his membership of the Committee to focus on his tenure process. His contribution to making executive decisions is very much appreciated. Markos Koutmos, also of Biophysics and Chemistry (see his feature story), joined the Executive Committee in April 2020. “Markos will contribute his deep insight in structural biology and mechanistic enzymology. We are delighted to have him join our committee,” says Nils Walter.