Dr. Samie Jaffrey - Principal Investigator
Dept. of Pharmacology
Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Jaffrey is recognized as a founder of “epitranscriptomics” and coined this term in his seminal 2012 publication in Cell describing the first transcriptome-wide map of m6A. This paper was cited in Nature Methods’s Jan 2017 article naming epitranscriptomic mapping as its “Method of the Year.” Dr. Jaffrey is the recipient of the NIH Eureka Award and the NIH Director’s Transformative R01 award. He has received the Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, the John J. Abel Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Jaffrey is neuroscientist, chemical biologist, and molecular biologist and is a recognized pioneer in our understanding of post-transcriptional mechanisms of gene regulation, most recently epitranscriptomics. His work is highly interdisciplinary and operates at the interface of computation and genomic experiments.
Dr. Kate Meyer
Duke University School of Medicine
Dr. Meyer has been an Assistant Professor at Duke University since 2016. Prior to that, she conducted her postdoctoral studies at Weill Cornell Medical College where she worked with Dr. Jaffrey to develop the first method for transcriptome-wide m6A mapping and uncovered important roles for m6A in translation regulation. Her laboratory has pioneered novel methods for detecting and quantifying adenosine methylation in cells, including development of the first single-cell m6A mapping technology. Her studies have provided unprecedented insights into how m6A is regulated at the cellular level and have paved the way for future studies examining single-cell m6A dynamics.
Dr. Scott Blanchard
Endowed Chair in Molecular Imaging, Dept. of Structural Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
As a faculty member in the Department of Structural Biology at St. Jude Children’s research hospital since 2019 and at Weill Cornell Medicine since 2004, Dr. Blanchard has extensive research experience in single-molecule fluorescence imaging (~20 years), including approximately 80 publications on investigations of ribosomes, ribozymes, riboswitches and a diversity of integral membrane proteins (amino acid transporters, G protein Coupled Receptors, P-type ATPases and viral Envelope proteins). Dr. Blanchard pioneered the single-molecule methods to image the process of translation at the singlemolecule scale and has consistently demonstrated the capacity to innovate and contribute to this important problem area since becoming faculty in 2004.
Dr. Davide Ruggero: Co-Investigator
Dept. of Urology & Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology
University of California San Francisco
Dr. Ruggero has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of ribosome biogenesis and regulation of protein synthesis and has been a pioneer at the forefront of translational control and cancer. His lab has published seminal studies that have significantly advanced our understanding of how defects in translational control lead to cancer development. These include the genetic dissection of translation control downstream the oncogenic mTOR pathway in cancer and its therapeutic implications, which was the cover story of the March 2010 Cancer Cell (Hsieh et al, Cancer Cell 2010), the characterization of the translational landscape of mTOR signaling in steering prostate cancer initiation and metastasis (Hsieh et al, Nature 2012), and the identification of a novel sequencespecific cis-regulatory translation element controlled by mTOR, contained within the 5’UTRs of mRNAs encoding pro-tumorigenic factors (Hsieh et al, Nature 2012). His lab has defined the translational program of the mammalian cell cycle (Stumpf et al, Molecular Cell 2013) and the role of dysregulated eIF4E-dependent translational control in autism (Gkogkas et al, Nature 2013). His lab was the first to genetically prove that an increase in Myc protein synthesis is a key determinant of Myc oncogenic activity (Barna et al, Nature 2008). Dr. Ruggero’s recent groundbreaking work has opened an entirely new avenue of study, which has exploited Myc’s addiction to enhanced protein synthesis to elucidate an entire network of synthetic lethal interactions.
Dr. Shenglong Zhang: Co-Investigator
New York Institute of Technology
Shenglong Zhang received his doctorate in organic chemistry from Columbia University and his post-doctoral training in Harvard University. He was among the first pioneers in developing the next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and spearheaded the development of an LC-MS-based direct RNA sequencing. The new RNA sequencing technology is completely independent of base complementarity and provides a general solution towards de novo RNA sequencing and modification analysis. Its application in RNA biology helps to answer the longstanding questions of: 1) how aberrant modifications in cellular RNA correlate with human diseases such as cancers, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders; 2) how RNA modification patterns and levels change in response to cellular environments and environmental stress. His studies also provide new perspectives into RNA epigenetic regulations and facilitate the identification of new RNA biomarkers and targets for drug discovery and personalized medicine.