MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs which inhibit gene expression by recruiting a large protein complex termed RISC to specific sites on target genes via complementarity and triggering gene silencing by post-transcriptional mechanisms. As such, they represent a novel way to regulate gene expression and development across plants and animals. Our lab studies the functions of miRNAs in the model organism C. elegans
, a transparent roundworm. We have found that certain miRNAs can alter the lifespan of C. elegans
and alter their response to stress. We are interested in studying the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon and to undertand their roles in the response to environmental stress and in neurodegenerative diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's.