ASEF Speaker Series
Online Events

Dr. Jernej Murn: RNA-Binding Proteins as Living Fossils in Human Cells

February 10, 2022 | 7:00 pm | Online

The American-Slovenian Educational Foundation (ASEF) is organizing a new lecture as part of the ASEF Speaker Series. This time we will be joined by dr. Jernej Murn with a lecture: “RNA-binding proteins as living fossils in human cells”. Please register for the lecture by 6 pm on February 10. All entrants will receive a Zoom link to their email address before the event. Register for the event here.


RNA plays a key role not only as an intermediary carrier of genetic information but also as a regulator of gene expression in essentially all forms of life. In extant organisms, the actual function of RNA relies heavily on proteins that bind to RNA and through binding direct its biogenesis, structure, metabolism, and effector role. It is thus not surprising that much of the progress in life sciences, the triumphs of which are epitomized by several recent breakthrough achievements, such as development of an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, CRISPR/Cas9 technology for genome editing, or RNA therapeutics for treatment of historically incurable human disorders, is driven by our improved understanding of protein-RNA interactions. In this lecture, I will discuss the importance of interactions between RNA and some of the most highly evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding proteins – ‘living molecular fossils’ – for biology of human cells.  


Jernej Murn obtained his B.S. degree from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2001, working on chemical synthesis of biologically active enzyme inhibitors, and his Ph.D. degree in 2006 for his work on genetic mechanisms of programmed cell death at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana and the CEA Laboratory for Functional Genomics in Évry, France. He moved to the US in 2008 to study cancer biology as a postdoc with Lloyd Trotman at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. In 2009, he changed course to molecular biology, training in epigenetics and RNA biology with Yang Shi at Harvard Medical School / Boston Children’s Hospital as a Nancy Lurie Marks fellow. In 2017, he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside, where he also co-directs the RNA Center. His research is geared towards understanding how processing of coding and non-coding RNA allows 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. 


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