The University of Saint Mary Stefani Doctor of Physical Therapy program prepares students for autonomous practice as an entry-level physical therapist. In keeping with the spirit of our founders, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, USM is committed to helping students realize their God-given potential—inspiring them to strive for academic excellence in coursework and in practice.
Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) , USM’s curriculum emphasizes dynamic, hands-on learning and applicable clinical reasoning skills consistent with the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice and the American Physical Therapy Association's Standards of Practice. Students fully understand the fundamentals of the profession while also being introduced to a broad spectrum of treatment techniques—comprehensively preparing graduates to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination.
A gene needs to express itself in order to contribute to cellular functions. Gene expression enables the genetic information from DNA to be transcribed into an RNA molecule. However, RNA molecules are not naked in the cells; as soon as an RNA is transcribed, it becomes coated by RNA-binding proteins to form ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs). These RNPs then coordinate many stages of RNA processing, quality control, transport and regulation. The RNPs oten involve dozens, if not hundreds of proteins bound to an RNA molecule.
We develop techniques that integrate biochemistry and computational biology to obtain a comprehensive map of interactions between a specific protein and its RNA partners within our cells. We developed the individual-nucleotide resolution UV crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (iCLIP), and a related method called hiCLIP, which reveal the conformation of RNPs across the transcriptome. We use these methods in collaboration with the group of Nicholas Luscombe to study how the sequence and structure of RNAs defines the composition and function of RNPs.
Cells can change their gene expression by modulating the function of RNPs. Moreover, genetic studies have identified mutations that disrupt the normal function of RNPs. These mutations often cause neurologic diseases, particularly the motor neuron disease, also referred to as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We study this disease in collaboration with the group of Rickie Patani by using induced pluripotent stem cells with specific genetic mutations, and differentiating them into motor neurons. We wish to understand how these mutations affect the assembly of protein-RNA complexes, thereby initiating the molecular cascade leading to disease. We study the following questions:
1) How do RNA-RNA and protein-RNA contacts define the assembly of RNPs, and thereby coordinate RNA processing and regulation?
2) How does evolution tinker with the RNA regulatory circuits? What is the role of transposable elements and non-canonical splicing in evolution?
3) How do protein-RNA complexes modulate the functions of neurons or glial cells during brain development, aging or neurodegenerative diseases?
4) How do mutations cause disease by disrupting the function of RNPs, and what treatments could ameliorate this?
And here are some of the RNA stories that we have passed through:
Postdoc’s Current Employer Institutions
American Society for Microbiology
Carnegie Institution for Science
Case Western Reserve University
Illinois Wesleyan University
Jackson State University
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Intitute of Technology
Medgar Evers College
Medical University of South Carolina
Mount Holyoke College
National Cancer Institute
North Carolina State University
Southern New Hampshire University
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
University of California San Francisco
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Francisco
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Chicago
University of Florida
University of Illinois
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Minnesota
University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rhode Island
University of South Dakota
University of South Florida
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Virginia Commonwealth University