Tariq Rana's Research Focus



Regulation of Development and Disease by RNAs

Welcome to a multidisciplinary laboratory studying fundamental questions in chemical and RNA biology. Our work focuses on elucidating the function of regulatory RNAs, and our team has helped to uncover the involvement of RNAs and RNA–protein complexes in gene silencing, stem cell biology, and host–pathogen interactions. The common thread running through all aspects of our research is our passion to reveal the architecture and function of RNA regulatory machines. The multidisciplinary nature of our work has allowed us to launch collaborations with investigators working in chemistry, biology, and drug discovery. Several technologies developed by our group have been used to develop small molecules and biological therapeutics that are currently in clinical trials. Here are some examples of questions that are currently being addressed in the laboratory: (1) What are the mechanisms that regulate the generation and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells? (2) How can we generate 3-dimensional organoids and tissues from stem cells that can be used to understand various disease states and possibly to find cures? (3) How do RNA and ribonucleoprotein complexes modulate innate immunity, viral replication, and host–pathogen interactions? (4) How can we design and develop small molecules to probe and perturb specific regulatory networks? By answering these questions, we will uncover fundamental principles that govern RNA regulation in human development and in disease pathophysiology. The knowledge and technologies created by these studies will provide new opportunities in clinical translational medicine through the development of small molecule and biological therapeutics. Some of the current medical and disease models under investigation in the laboratory and with collaborators include regenerative medicine, AIDS, immune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, drug addiction, and cancer.