Faculty Testimonials

“Thank you for the resources/facilities page! Very helpful. There are 4 instances in which the CRB has facilitated ongoing and future investigations:
1) Discussions with 2 CRB members, Nils Walter and Jayakrishnan Nandakumar, helped solidify plans to explore the RNA binding properties of TDP43, an RNA binding protein with integral ties to the neurodegenerative disorders ALS and FTD. We found that specific mutations within TDP43 alter its structure and its RNA binding properties. Nils and Jayakrishnan suggested key experiments that should help to elucidate relationship between TDP43 structure, RNA binding, and toxicity in neurons.
2) In collaboration with Claudia FigueroaRomero, we obtained a CRB pilot grant to explore the consequences of RNA instability in models of ALS and FTD. These studies also involve Mats Ljungman, another member of the CRB. This multidisciplinary team would not be possible without the interaction and support provided by the CRB.
3) We are also working with Mats Ljungman to investigate the regulation of RNA stability during cell fate transitions that occur when fibroblasts are reprogrammed into stem cells, and these stem cells are in turn differentiated into a third cell type, neurons.
3) Lastly, our group collaborates with Peter Todd, also a CRB member, to study mechanisms of repeatassociated nonAUG (RAN) translation in ALS and FTD models.
The seminars, symposia and funding opportunities promoted by the CRB have been outstanding so far. I do not believe that any of the instances described above would have been nearly as successful without support from the CRB. So, once again — thank you!”  
Sami Barmada, PhD, Angela Dobson Welch and Lyndon Welch Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Neurology, Medical School


“By attending an CRB meeting, I first learned of Mats Ljundman’s development of Bru-Seq and Bru-Chase Seq. These tools, that allow transcriptome wide measurements of RNA transcription and stability, allowed for novel approaches to neurological disorders- ALS in particular. My colleague Sami Barmada and Mats have now done this in ALS patient derived cells with interesting results that are submitted for publication. I now envision similar projects in Fragile X Syndrome with this tool, which was developed on this campus and I suspect it will appear in future papers and grants.”
Peter Todd, MD, PhD, Bucky and Patti Harris Early Career Professor of Neurology, Associate Professor, Neurology


“The CRB biweekly and annual meetings helped me to know other researchers and their fields of expertise at the UM for potential collaborative studies. One successful collaboration that has been formed since joining the CRB is forming a strong research team composing of basic science, bioengineering and clinical science experts to submit an U54 proposal to work on “Systems Biology and Control Theory of RNA Metabolism in Cancer (STORMCancer).” 
Ebrahim Azizi, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Internal Medicine, Medical School


“I take great interests in attending several seminars and symposium hosted by the center. I benefited most by a couple seminars that focus on the role of stress granules and ribosomopathy to diseases. They have significantly broadened my knowledge by relying on reading journal articles in the past. These seminars stimulated new ideas for the proposals I have worked on previously. I will expect more engaging research activities in near future by been associated with center and knowing the resources made available through the pilot grants.” 
ChaoYie Yang, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, Medical School


“The excellent seminar series has been very stimulating for our laboratory.”
Miriam Meisler, PhD, Myron Levine Distinguished University Professor of Human Genetics, Professor of Human Genetics and Professor of Neurology, Medical School


“”The CRB has enhanced my RNA related research in the following aspects:
1.) Promoted our crossdisciplinary collaborations on RNA related research with other researchers.
2.) Members of the CRB have become my mentors for RNA related research.
3.) Provided shared resources and equipment for my research project.
4.) The biweekly RNA Innovation Seminar series have provided me knowledge on RNA related research.
5.) The annual RNA symposium provided opportunity for me to expose our research projects and meet
with experts in the field.” 
Jiaqi Shi, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Medical School


“I joined the CRB only recently, but I frequently went to various seminars sponsored by CRB and found those seminars to be of very high quality. I also enjoyed a lot the recent RNA biomedical symposium.
I currently don’t have collaborations with other CRB members but would be extremely interested in forming collaborations in the future. Does CRB have any plans to cultivate local collaborations? For example, our department (biostatistics) started some collaborative lunches a few years ago, where faculty are mixed into small groups to have lunches together. We found that to be quite effective in forming long term collaborations. I guess this is a bit off the topic so please feel free to ignore it. Thanks a lot!”
Xiang Zhou, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health


“I wanted to thank you for inviting me to give a data blitz at the RNA Biosciences symposium. It has raised my profile on campus and I’ve had several people contact me, people in the Cardiovascular center had even seen the talk asking Markos about me yesterday. I appreciate this opportunity.”  
Kristin Koutmou, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts