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Michal Rabani, PhD

Michal Rabani, PhD

Yotam Drier, PhD

Grant Status

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Grant Type
Acceleration Grant

Project Title
The role of enhancer RNA methylation in tumorigenesis

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Cancer Diagnostics, Cancer Treatment

About the Investigators:

Dr. Drier started his scientific career studying computer science, math, and physics. During his PhD, Dr. Drier focused on cancer genomics to apply these skills to better understand cancer. In his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Drier expanded his expertise in epigenomics to study how epigenomic and topological alterations drive cancer. His lab at the Hebrew University Medical School combines cutting-edge experimental techniques and machine-learning approaches to systematically study the role of genomic and epigenomic alterations in cancer.

Dr. Rabani is a young researcher at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Life Sciences. Dr. Rabani’s scientific focus on RNA biology started during her MSc studies at the Weizmann Institute, working on computational predictions of RNA structure. During her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Broad Institute, Dr. Rabani developed computational and experimental tools to investigate RNA dynamics. Her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University focused on the cis-regulation of maternal RNA degradation in embryos. Today, research in her lab takes a deeper look into RNA regulation during developmental transitions in early embryos by implementing cutting-edge genomic technologies and novel big-data analysis tools.

About the Research:

Enhancers are parts of the DNA that control gene expression. They can produce RNA called eRNA, and recent discoveries suggest that a chemical change to eRNA, called m6A, is essential for enhancer activity. In cancer, metabolic and genetic modifications can affect m6A levels in other types of RNA, but there is little knowledge on how this affects the m6A of eRNAs and disease development.

Dr. Drier and Dr. Rabani propose investigating global eRNA m6A levels in cancer models and patients and using existing databases to test whether these changes can be used as novel biomarkers to predict patient prognosis. They will determine which alterations contribute to cancer development and test potential treatments that can reverse these changes in the cancer models by targeting enhancers.


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