Year 2

The main goal of this project is to understand how stem cells choose what kind of cells to be, particular through newly recognized molecules called long noncoding RNAs. We found that specific long RNAs are involved in keeping embryonic stem cells in a stem cell state, while other ones help stem cells turn into particular tissues, like brain or skin. We found special chemical tags on the RNAs, called RNA modifications, are important for the RNAs to function properly. Thus controlling how RNA modifications are written or erased may be a new way to manipulate stem cells for research and clinical applications.