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Eric Miska

2017 MiskaEric Miska PhD, Wellcome Senior Investigator, Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellow, Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics, Member of the Department of Genetics and Associate Faculty Member of the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Miska Group website | Europe PMC | Pubmed

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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.

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.

Selected publications:

• Cording A et al. (2016) Selective inhibitors of trypanosomal uridylyl transferase RET1 establish druggability of RNA post-transcriptional modifications. RNA Biol. Jan 20:1-9. DOI:10.1080/15476286.2015.1137422 [Epub ahead of print] 

• Malinsky M et al. (2015) Genomic islands of speciation separate cichlid ecomorphs in an East African crater lake. Science. 350(6267):1493-8.

• Ashe A et al. (2015) Antiviral RNA Interference against Orsay Virus Is neither Systemic nor Transgenerational in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Virol. 89(23):12035-46.

• Sapetschnig A et al. (2015) Tertiary siRNAs mediate paramutation in C. elegans. PLoS Genet. 11(3):e1005078. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005078.

• Sarkies P et al. (2015) Ancient and novel small RNA pathways compensate for the loss of piRNAs in multiple independent nematode lineages. PLoS Biol. 13(2): e1002061. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002061. 

• Gapp K et al. (2014) Implication of sperm RNAs in transgenerational inheritance of the effects of early trauma in mice. Nat Neuroscience 17(5): 667–669.

• Ashe A et al. (2012) piRNAs can trigger a multigenerational epigenetic memory in the germline of C. elegans. Cell, 150, 88 - 99

 Miska Group 2017

Video: Meet Eric Miska

Video: Omer Ziv and the Zika virus


Alper Akay • Dhiru Bansal • Ahmet Can Berkyurek • Nicolas Bologna • Fabian Braukmann • Nicholas Burton • Isabela Cunha Navarro • Benjamin Fisher • Giulia Furlan • Katharina Gapp • David Jordan • Joanna Kosalka • Miranda Landgraf • Eyal Maori • Wayo Matsushima • Ragini Medhi • Jorg Morf • Guillermo Parada Gonzalez • Audrey Putman • Navin Brian Ramakrishna • Cristian Riccio • Marc Ridyard • Gregoire Vernaz • Ulrika (Chengwei) Yuan • Omer Ziv