Eric Miska

Associate group leader

Research summary

Non-coding RNA and genome dynamics

What does non-coding RNA do in development and disease? Most of the RNA transcribed from the DNA in our genome is not translated into protein but instead has direct functions in regulating biological processes. This paradigm shift in nucleic acid biology has been supported by technical advances in high-throughput sequencing, molecular genetics and computational biology, which can be combined with more traditional biochemical analyses.

Expand summary

Many species and roles of non-coding RNA have been identified. Our goal is to understand how non-coding RNAs regulate development, physiology and disease. We are exploring microRNA in the pathology of cancer and other diseases, RNA interference in viral immunity, Piwi- interacting RNA in germline development and genome integrity, and endogenous small interfering RNA in epigenetic inheritance – where we predict a big impact in understanding human health.

Our model organisms are the nematode worm, the cichlid fishes of the Rift Lakes of East Africa, mouse, and human cell culture. More recently we have developed a technology to assess RNA structure and RNA–RNA interactions in living systems. We used this to uncover unexpected biology for the Zika virus, and key regulatory mechanisms for SARS- CoV-2. 

Diagram of the structure of the Zika virus RNA genome

The Zika virus genomic structure inside human cells. The Zika virus genome adopts alternating structures as the 5′ cyclization sequence (CS) participates in interaction with host microRNA miR-21 (top), capsid translation (right), and genome cyclization (left).

Eric Miska colour portrait

Selected publications

  • Burton NO et al. (2021) Intergenerational adaptations to stress are evolutionarily conserved, stress-specific, and have deleterious trade-offs. eLife 10:e73425. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.73425.

    October 8, 2021

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  • Vernaz G et al. (2021) Mapping epigenetic divergence in the massive radiation of Lake Malawi cichlid fishes. Nat Commun 12(1):5870. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-26166-2.

    October 7, 2021

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  • Gapp K et al. (2021) Single paternal dexamethasone challenge programs offspring metabolism and reveals multiple candidates in RNA-mediated inheritance. iScience 24(8):102870. DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102870.

    July 15, 2021

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  • Miska EA & Rechavi O (2021) Can brain activity transmit transgenerationally? Curr Top Dev Biol 144:1-18. DOI: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2021.03.001.

    April 10, 2021

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  • Berkyurek AC et al. (2021) The RNA polymerase II subunit RPB-9 recruits the integrator complex to terminate Caenorhabditis elegans piRNA transcription. EMBO J 40:e105565. DOI: 10.15252/embj.2020105565.

    February 3, 2021

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  • Navarro IC et al. (2021) Translational adaptation to heat stress is mediated by RNA 5-methylcytosine in Caenorhabditis elegans. EMBO J 40:e105496. DOI: 10.15252/embj.2020105496.

    December 7, 2020

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  • Ziv O et al. (2020) The Short- and Long-Range RNA–RNA Interactome of SARS-CoV-2. Mol Cell 80: 1067–1077.e5. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.11.004.

    November 5, 2020

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Prof Eric Miska PhD
Associate Group Leader; Head of Department of Biochemistry; Wellcome Senior Investigator, Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellow, Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics, Associate Faculty Member of the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Research group

  • Sophie Belser

    Part II Student

  • Dr Mar Cabeza Cabrerizo


  • Dr Alexandra Dallaire

    Research Associate

  • Lukas Fiedler

    Part II Student

  • Dr David Jordan

    Research Associate

  • Tsveta Kamenova

    PhD Student

  • Joanna Kosalka

    PhD Student

  • Lisa Lampersberger

    PhD Student

  • Cameron Lackey

    Part II Student

  • Yuhua Lan

    Part III Student

  • Dr Xiaodan Liu

    Research Associate

  • Narendra Meena

    PhD Student

  • Isabelle Murray

    Part II Student

  • Kyanna Ouyang

    Part III Student

  • Dr Harris Papadopoulou

    NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer

  • Dr Jon Price

    Research Associate

  • Audrey Putman

    PhD Student

  • Fu Xiang Quah

    Research Student

  • Dr Marc Ridyard

    Laboratory Manager

  • Juan Carlos Rueda Silva

    PhD Student

  • Dr Miguel Vasconcelos Almeida

    Marie Curie Fellow

  • Dr Archana Yerra

    Project Manager

  • Chengwei (Ulrika) Yuan

    PhD Student

  • Dr Chenming Zeng

    Research Associate