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The Gurdon Institute


2018 MiskaEric Miska PhD, Deputy Director, 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:

• Maori E et al. (2019) A Secreted RNA Binding Protein Forms RNA-Stabilizing Granules in the Honeybee Royal Jelly. Mol Cell 74(3): 598-608.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.03.010.

• Weng C et al. (2019) The USTC co-opts an ancient machinery to drive piRNA transcription in C. elegans. Genes Dev 33(1-2): 90-102. doi: 10.1101/gad.319293.118. 

• Gapp K et al. (2018) Alterations in sperm long RNA contribute to the epigenetic inheritance of the effects of postnatal trauma. Mol Psychiatry Oct 30. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0271-6. [Epub ahead of print] 

• Ziv O et al. (2018) COMRADES determines in vivo RNA structures and interactions. Nat Methods 15(10): 785-788. doi: 10.1038/s41592-018-0121-0.

• Le Pen J et al. (2018) Terminal uridylyltransferases target RNA viruses as part of the innate immune system. Nat Struct Mol Biol 25(9): 778-786. doi: 10.1038/s41594-018-0106-9.

• Matsushima W et al. (2018) SLAM-ITseq: sequencing cell type-specific transcriptomes without cell sorting. Development 145(13). pii: dev164640. doi: 10.1242/dev.164640. 

• Tanguy M et al. (2017) An Alternative STAT Signaling Pathway Acts in Viral Immunity in Caenorhabditis elegans. MBio 8(5). pii: e00924-17. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00924-17. 

• Akay A et al. (2017) The Helicase Aquarius/EMB-4 Is Required to Overcome Intronic Barriers to Allow Nuclear RNAi Pathways to Heritably Silence Transcription. Dev Cell 42(3): 241-255.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.07.002.

• Gapp K & Miska EA. (2016) tRNA fragments: novel players in intergenerational inheritance. Cell Res 2016 Apr;26(4): 395-396. doi: 10.1038/cr.2016.24.

Miska group (Nov18 to Feb19)


Nicholas Burton • Alexandra Dallaire •  Benjamin Fisher • Giulia Furlan • Melanie Heckwolf • David Jordan • Tsveta Kamenova • Joanna Kosalka • Lisa Lampersberger • Miranda Landgraf • Xiaodan Liu • Bethan Manley • Narendra Meena • Harris Papadopoulou • Jon Price • Audrey Putman • Fu Xiang Quah • Navin Brian Ramakrishna • Marc Ridyard • Miguel Vasconcelos Almeida • Gregoire Vernaz • Archana Yerra • Chengwei (Ulrika) Yuan

Video: Meet Eric Miska

Eric describes his journey into science and what makes his research on epigenetics so fascinating, including an animation and inside views of his lab.

Watch on YouTube >