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Dr. Niroshika Keppetipola

Research Interests

An important way that cells respond to environment is by controlling gene expression and in turn protein expression.  The splicing of mRNA intermediates is an important mechanism for cells to control development and respond to changes in the environment.  Changes in splicing events lead to neurologic disease and cancer.  RNA binding proteins that function as splicing regulators tightly controls the process of splicing.  Modifications of these proteins such as the addition of a phosphate or acetyl group leads to changes in the proteins' activity and concentration.  This in turn generates mRNA isoforms and protein variants including those related to disease states.  The Polypyrimidine Tract Binding Protein 1 (PTBP1) is an RNA binding protein controlling the splicing of many mRNA intermediates including those involved in cancer.  My research group is studying PTBP1 to understand how the proteins' activity is altered by post-translational modifications.niroshika researchfocus image1