Katie West

Understanding long non-­coding RNA function

About me

I began my PhD at the University of York in October 2018. My research is focused on the role of the long non coding RNA metastasis associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1) in T helper cells, working with Dr Dimitris Lagos and Professor Dawn Coverley. During my undergraduate degree at the University of York, I undertook a year in industry placement at GSK working on the innate immune system in the complement therapeutics department. In addition, as part of a final year research project I explored the role of complement receptor isoforms in various immune cells. Following my undergraduate degree, I worked with Professor Dawn Coverley as a research technician to develop an ultrasensitive method of detecting the lung cancer biomarker CIZ1b by mass spectrometry.

My project

Our cells use nearly 80% of our DNA, but less than 2% is used for making proteins. The remaining 78% generates non-­‐coding RNAs, which play crucial roles in health and disease. As the vast majority of current drugs act on proteins, non-­‐coding RNAs represent an untapped source of biological mechanistic knowledge and future drug targets. This project will focus on a long non-­‐coding RNA (lncRNA) called Malat1 that was discovered due to its association with cancer metastasis. This project aims to investigate the function and regulation of Malat1 in normal, non-­‐cancerous cells, in order to establish its physiological function (why our cells need it). Understanding lncRNA function is one of the most exciting current challenges in molecular cell biology.


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