The RNA Biology Laboratory was formed in 2017 to enhance RNA research at the NCI. Our mission is to carry out cutting-edge research into the roles of RNAs and RNA-protein complexes in cancer and to foster synergistic interactions and cross-disciplinary collaborations between a wide range of RNA scientists and clinicians. Areas under study include the pathways by which RNAs are synthesized, processed and degraded, the mechanisms by which noncoding RNAs and RNA-protein complexes contribute to cell function, the ways in which alterations in RNA metabolism contribute to human cancers, and the development of RNA-based therapies.

Noncoding RNAs & RNPs Section: Dr. Sandra Wolin studies how noncoding RNAs function, how cells recognize and degrade defective RNAs, and how failure to degrade these RNAs affects cell function and contributes to human disease.

Functional Transcriptomics Section: Dr. Thomas Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis studies the impact of post-transcriptional regulation on cell fate decisions and how disruption of pre-mRNA processing contributes to cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders by applying functional genomics approaches.

RNA Mediated Gene Regulation Section: Dr. Shuo Gu focuses on mechanisms of RNA interference, the pathways by which microRNAs are synthesized and degraded and the applications of microRNAs in cancer treatment.  Areas of particular interest include the fidelity of microRNA processing and the cellular roles of microRNA modifications.

Molecular Mechanisms of Transcription Section: Dr. Mikhail Kashlev studies how RNAs are synthesized. He conducts biochemical and genetic studies of the mechanisms regulating transcription elongation and RNA polymerase fidelity in E. coli, yeast and mammalian cells.  They also investigate the impact of transcription errors in cancer, and study transcription-coupled DNA repair in yeast and mammalian cells.

Messenger RNA Regulation and Decay Section: Dr. Eugene Valkov focuses on structural and biochemical characterization of the messenger RNA degradation machinery and how decay factors interface mechanistically with other post-transcriptional processes such as translational repression and regulation.

Translational Control of Gene Expression Section: Dr. Colin Wu is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of ribosome-mediated translational regulation by ribosome-associated factors and RNA binding proteins. They are also pursuing non-canonical roles of the ribosome in dictating life-or-death cell fate decisions in response to cellular stress in mammalian cells.

Job Vacancies

We have no open positions in our group at this time, please check back later.

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2024 Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) winners: Sharan Malagobadan, Hyeyeon Nam, James Shamul, Chunmei Shi, Karrie Spain and Arun Prasath Damodaran

2023 Spring Research Festival Poster Blitz - 3rd Place: Karrie Spain, NCI: “Mapping Functional microRNA Target Sites in vivo by RNA Editing”

Congratulations to Sandra Wolin on her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Yevgen Levdansky 2023 CCR Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award. Congratulations Yevgen.

Congratulations to Sandra Williams and Sandra Wolin for receiving a 2023 FLEX Award.

Congratulations to Aaztli Coria and Sandra Williams for winning poster prizes at the NCI RNA Biology Initiative Retreat!

2022 Spring Research Festival Poster Blitz - 1st Place: Shreya Kordale, NCI: “Genome-wide CRISPR Screening to Uncover Alternative Splicing Regulatory Networks”

Congratulations to Adrianna Hernandez for being awarded an iCURE Fellowship from the NCI.

Congratulations to Sandra Wolin for being elected President of the RNA Society, 2023-2024.

Congratulations to Acong Yang for receiving an 2022 NCI Director's Innovation Award.

Congratulations to Don Court for receiving the 2020 NCI Director's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Don Court


Contact Info

Center for Cancer Research National Cancer Institute

  • Building 560, Room 11-82
  • Frederick, MD 21702-1201
  • 301-846-1245
Patti Lamb
Program Specialist
Patti Lamb
Michael Bonaduce
Technical Lab Manager
Michael Bonaduce
Picture of Jenny Miller
Technical Lab Manager
Jennifer Miller
Ashley Abel
Program Support Assistant
Ashley Abel
Jenn Corral
Program Specialist
Jenn Corral