Jolley Hall, Room 309
"Discovery and Characterization of Circular and Chimeric RNAs"
Adviser: Weixiong Zhang
Non-co-linear RNAs, including circular and chimeric RNAs, have been investigated in a broad range of cellular processes, as well as various diseases. We have developed a method that is totally independent of genome annotations and splicing signals to identify both circular and chimeric RNAs. Statistical analysis and experimental validation revealed that circRNAs could arise from the interior regions of exons and introns, indicating a potential novel mechanism of biogenesis. Moreover, differential expressions of circular RNAs (circRNAs) and their host genes in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) suggested that circRNAs might play an important role in AD. All the previous research significantly expanded our understanding of the origin, diversity, complexity of circRNAs and their potential functions in complex diseases. Here, we will broaden the scope of our studies and propose new directions to enhance our knowledge of non-co-linear RNAs. We will apply graph models to estimate the full-length structures and to reduce the impact of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on expression levels of both circular and chimeric RNAs in complex diseases.