Natasha J. Caplen, Ph.D.

Natasha J. Caplen, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Genetics Branch


Dr. Caplen co-discovered RNA interference (RNAi) in mammalian cells and has pioneered approaches for exploiting this gene regulatory mechanism to investigate cancer biology and treatment. Dr. Caplen applies the perturbations induced by RNA- or DNA-based technologies to interrogate specific aspects of the genetic, transcriptional, and cell-signaling alterations observed in cancer cells. These functional genetic approaches will be used to enhance our understanding of the mechanistic basis of cancer and to discover new cancer treatment strategies. Current studies are focused on the functional genetic analysis of cancers driven by fusion oncogenes.

Areas of Expertise

Functional Genetics
RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNAi Screening
Regulation of Gene Expression


Selected Recent Publications

HNRNPH1-dependent splicing of a fusion oncogene reveals a targetable RNA G-quadruplex interaction.

Neckles C, Boer RE, Aboreden N, Cross AM, Walker RL, Kim BH, Kim S, Schneekloth JS Jr, Caplen NJ.
RNA. 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Functional Genomic Screening Reveals Splicing of the EWS-FLI1 Fusion Transcript as a Vulnerability in Ewing Sarcoma

Grohar PJ, Kim S, Rangel Rivera GO, Sen N, Haddock S, Harlow ML, Maloney NK, Zhu J, O'Neill M, Jones TL, Huppi K, Grandin M, Gehlhaus K, Klumpp-Thomas CA, Buehler E, Helman LJ, Martin SE, Caplen NJ.
Cell Reports. 14: 598-610, 2016. [ Journal Article ]

Specific inhibition of gene expression by small double-stranded RNAs in invertebrate and vertebrate systems

Caplen NJ, Parrish S, Imani F, Fire A, Morgan RA.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.. 98: 9742-7, 2001. [ Journal Article ]

Liposome-mediated CFTR gene transfer to the nasal epithelium of patients with cystic fibrosis

Caplen N.J., Alton E. W.F.W., Middleton P.G., Dorin J.R., Stevenson B.J., Gao X., Durham S., Jeffery P.K., Hodson M.E., Coutelle C. Huang L. Porteous D., Williamson R., Geddes D.M.
Nature Medicine. 1: 39-46, 1995. [ Journal Article ]

HNRNPH1 destabilizes the G-quadruplex structures formed by G-rich RNA sequences that regulate the alternative splicing of an oncogenic fusion transcript.

Vo T, Brownmiller T, Hall K, Jones TL, Choudhari S, Grammatikakis I, Ludwig KR, Caplen NJ
Nucleic Acids Research. 2022.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

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Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Tayvia Blake Brownmiller, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Vernon Ebegboni, Ph.D.
Research Biologist
Tamara L. Jones, M.S.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Soumya Sundara Rajan, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Tam Vo, Ph.D.
Program Support Specialist
Kristen Martin
Post-Masters (CRTA)
Patrick Pichling, M.S.
post-baccalaureate fellow
Daniel Zelmanovich


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