Jernej Murn

Lab Head

Jernej Murn, University of California Riverside

Control of gene expression at the RNA level converts to life much of the information stored in our genomes. We are interested in understanding how RNA-linked processes allow cells to make decisions, respond to the environment, and communicate with one another, as well as how misregulation of these processes leads to cellular dysfunction and disease.
We pursue these problems in two major biological settings. First, we study the processing of protein-coding RNA, especially post-transcriptional regulation by mRNA-binding proteins (RBPs). We are particularly interested in understanding the formation and function of RBP-containing ribonucleoprotein complexes during early neuronal development and in neurodegeneration. This includes RBPs that are writers, readers, and erasers of RNA modifications, whose roles in neuronal development are largely unknown.
Second, we investigate the biogenesis of non-coding RNA as a major contributor to the total cellular RNA pool. Here, we are focusing on RNase P, one of only two multiple turnover ribozymes (the other one is the ribosome) that are found in organisms from all kingdoms of life. We study the structure-function relationships of RNase P and its evolutionary descendant, RNase MRP, as well as how the activities of these ribozymes contribute to cell homeostasis.
Our studies make heavy use of genome-wide and computational approaches (including techniques such as iCLIP, ribosome profiling, pseudoU-seq) in combination with traditional biochemistry and genetics to allow for comprehensive description of RNA networks and their regulating RBPs. We are integrating these approaches with in vitro stem cell differentiation and use of transgenic organisms to understand how control of gene expression at the RNA-level contributes to development and disease.

Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside (July 2017- )
Postdoctoral training, Harvard Medical School & Boston Children's Hospital (2009-2017)
Postdoctoral training, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (2008-2009)
Ph.D., CEA Laboratory for Functional Genomics, France | University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2006)
B.Sc., University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2001)

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