The UNC RNA Discovery Center, funded through the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, will cultivate an inclusive community of scientists dedicated to investigating all aspects of RNA biology, some of which has already been implicated in human diseases and much of which we know very little about.
Led by director Chad Pecot, MD, UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine’s Division of Oncology in the UNC Department of Medicine, the new center includes UNC’s multidisciplinary group of renowned RNA scientists, including center co-directors and UNC Lineberger members:
- Amy Gladfelter, PhD, professor of biology (RNA subcellular localization)
- Qi Zhang, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry & biophysics, (RNA structure)
- Mauro Calabrese, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology (RNA transcription)
- Bill Marzluff, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics (RNA processing); and
- Keriayn Smith, PhD, assistant professor of genetics (director of training & excellence)
“Our main goals are to recruit and train the world’s top talent in RNA research,” Pecot said, “to make key discoveries in the basic and translational sciences, to study the various roles of RNA in health and disease, and to commercialize RNA-based tools and medicines to help the people of North Carolina and around the world. We’re also creating a strong environment of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we’re planning to be intentional about how we support traditionally disadvantaged trainees.”
The center will support graduate and post-doctorate fellowships, faculty collaborations and several key staff to support the Center’s infrastructure. “The center will also begin applying for collaborative funding mechanisms, ranging from multi-PI R01s, foundational grants all the way to program project grants,” Pecot added.