Within tumours, individual cells often differ genetically while also transitioning between specific cell states linked to disease progression and treatment failure.
Dr Castellano's group is investigating how non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) interacting with proteins and DNA control these phenotypes.
ncRNAs can be short (< 200bp) including the class of microRNAs or longer (> 200bp) and called long non-coding RNAs: both are often dysregulated in cancers, either enhancing or slowing oncogenesis by various mechanisms. By focusing on the roles of these non-coding RNAs in orchestrating transitions, such as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition that facilitates metastasis, and the differentiation of stem-like tumour cells into differentiated progeny, we hope to elucidate functions of this previously unrecognised layer of regulatory RNAs.
Non-coding RNAs implicated in maintaining these tumour cell states can then offer diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic potential once their contribution to tumour behaviour is established. Interested candidates with relevant skills and expertise may contact Dr Castellano.
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