27 August 2019

IBSE is very pleased to introduce you all to our guest speaker Dr. Ulf Schmitz who will give IBSE Seminar on Thursday, 12th September 2019 in BT Seminar Hall (Biotechnology Dept. Block 1, Ground Floor), at 4:00 pm. The title of his presentation will be: “Unpeeling the layers of post-transcriptional gene regulation”. Dr. Ulf Schmitz is head of the Computational BioMedicine Lab at the Centenary Institute (University of Sydney). He is also Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health (University of Sydney). (http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/profiles/usch6281.php).

Abstract: In this presentation, I will discuss two forms of post-transcriptional gene regulation as well as the interdisciplinary analysis pipelines that we developed to decipher their roles in normal physiology and in diseases such as cancer. While microRNA-mediated target repression is a well-known and extensively studied form of post-transcriptional gene regulation, intron retention (IR) is still underexplored but has gained more attention recently after we have shown that IR is a widespread and conserved mechanism of gene expression control. We found that IR controls the expression of functionally-related genes during hematopoietic cell differentiation and that IR induces gene regulatory complexity and exhibits well-conserved characteristics in over 430 million years of evolution. We have explored epigenetic modifications as mediators of IR and discovered significantly reduced DNA methylation levels as well as an increased presence of specific histone marks near and within the DNA encoding retained introns. IR is common across liquid and solid tumours and differentially regulated in comparison to normal tissue. We study the role of IR in chronic myeloid leukemia and breast cancer and found distinct patterns of IR in both cancers. Finally, I will discuss a potential cross-talk between microRNA and IR-mediated gene regulation.