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Prof Jernej Ule
Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology
Queen Square
  • Professor of Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Neuroscience
  • Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Jernej obtained his BSc in Molecular Biology from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1999, and PhD in Molecular Neuroscience from Rockefeller University, New York, in 2004. After two-year postdoctoral work at Rockefeller University, he started his research group at the Structural Studies department of MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge in August 2006. In April 2013, his group relocated to the Department of Molecular Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Neurology.

Research Summary

The goal of my research group is to reveal how protein-RNA complexes regulate gene expression during brain development or disease. We develop and employ techniques that integrate biochemistry and computational biology to obtain a comprehensive map of interactions between a specific protein and its RNA partners. We developed the individual-nucleotide resolution UV crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (iCLIP), and a related method called hiCLIP, which reveal protein-RNA and RNA-RNA contacts within cells. We use these methods to study how the sequence and structure of RNAs defines the composition and function of protein-RNA complexes, and how this guides gene expression. 

Genetic studies have identified mutations in RNA-binding proteins, which often cause neurologic diseases, particularly the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 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 do disease-causing mutations disrupt the assembly of protein-RNA complexes, and what treatments could ameliorate this?

3) How do protein-RNA complexes modulate the functions of neurons or glial cells during brain development, aging and neurodegenerative diseases?

4) How do transposable elements and non-canonical splicing drive the evolution of RNA regulatory circuits?

Academic Background
2004 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Neuroscience The Rockefeller University
1999 BSc Bachelor of Science – Neuroscience Univerza v Ljubljani
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