The Norris Lab studies RNA regulation in the nervous system. Using the nematode C. elegans we can visualize RNA regulation in single neurons of living animals, and use the awesome power of genetics to investigate mechanisms and function. Here are some of the projects we’re working on:

1) RNA Binding Proteins with Cell-Specific Pathologies. Many RNA binding proteins are expressed broadly, but when they are mutated, specific neuron types are affected (e.g. motor neurons in ALS). Why? Is there something special about the cell type? The RNA binding protein? Something else?

2) Alternative Splicing in Single Neurons. Many RNAs are alternatively spliced in different neuron types. How is this regulated? Do the different splice isoforms have different functions?

3) Coordinated Transcriptome Regulation. Transcriptomes are simultaneously regulated by transcription factors (turning genes on/off) and RNA binding proteins (selecting specific gene isoforms). How are these processes coordinated?