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1月15日清华大学生物论坛 - Xiang-Dong Fu
发布时间:2018-01-15关键字:

Chartering Regulatory RNA Programs to Combat Neurodegenerative Diseases

 


Xiang-Dong Fu, Professor, PhD

Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, USA

 

BiographyXiang-Dong Fu is the Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at University of California, San Diego. He received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University in 1988 and postdoctoral training at Harvard from 1988 to 1992.  Dr. Fu joined the faculty at UCSD and rose through the rank (Assistant Professor, 1992-1998; Associate Professor, 1998 to 2002; and Full Professor, 2002-present). Throughout his academic career, Dr. Fu made three sets of key discoveries.  First, he used purified spliceosome to raise a large panel of monoclonal antibodies, leading to the discovery of the first non-snRNP splicing factor SC35 and contributing to the founding of the SR family of splicing regulators.  He conducted a large body of functional and mechanistic studies on SR proteins, revealing their central roles in key developmental and disease processes by committing pre-mRNA to the splicing pathway and regulating alternative splicing in dosage-dependent and position-sensitive manner. He was also the first to elucidate splicing-independent functions of SR proteins in transcription elongation and in releasing paused polymerase II from gene promoters, solving a long-standing question on nascent RNA-mediated transcriptional control. Second, he discovered the SRPK family of splicing kinases highly specific for SR proteins and demonstrated a dedicated signaling pathway via these kinases to transduce growth factor signaling to the nucleus to regulate alternative splicing.  He found these splicing kinases have both oncogenic and tumorigenic functions, in part through regulating the recruitment of Akt-specific phosphatases in mammalian cells.  Third, he pioneered studies on cell fate switches mediated by regulatory RNAs and RNA binding proteins and elucidated an RNA program necessary and sufficient to trans-differentiate fibroblasts into functional neurons.  He revealed widespread roles of regulatory noncoding RNAs and specific RNA binding proteins in mammalian genomes to activate or repress transcription and uncovered an unprecedented function of microRNAs in enhancing mitochondrial translation during muscle differentiation. His work elucidates diverse RNA-central regulatory strategies underlying critical developmental and disease processes. Dr. Fu’s contributions to biomedical research have been honored by selection to Searle Scholar (1994), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar (1997), and AAAS Fellow (2010).  He was recognized as Outstanding Alumnus of Wuhan University in 2003 and received the Ray Wu award in 2016. Dr. Fu has been widely sought for advices from the international communities, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and various top research universities around the world.

 

Abstract: During the lecture, Dr. Fu will review his research career in studying RNA biology from initial discovery of SR proteins in splicing regulation to the elucidation of diverse functions of RNA binding proteins in transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of gene expression and to their recent discovery of a regulatory RNA program that can potentially convert non-neuronal cells to functional neurons.  Their most recent data reveal that this new neuronal conversion strategy can be directly applied in the brain, which potently eradicates the Parkinson’s Disease phenotype, thus showcasing how basic research leads to major breakthroughs in solving real life problems.

Time: January 18th, 2018, 10:00-11:00

Venue: Room 143, New Biology Building

Host:  Dr. Zhi (John) Lu  (鲁志)   Dr. Dong Wang (王栋)

 

 




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