Summary

Although previously regarded as a simple intermediate between genes and proteins, the completion of the human genome project surprisingly revealed that the vast majority of our genome, over 98%, encodes for non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). This has subsequently led to an RNA renaissance in biology and medicine, uncovering the fundamental roles that RNAs, and RNA biology more generally, play in the maintenance of human health and connection to disease. Aberrant regulation of non-coding RNAs has now been linked to nearly all human pathologies from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer and metabolic disorders. Targeting of coding messenger RNAs (mRNAs), rather than the proteins in which they encode, has also emerged as a new therapeutic strategy for affecting the biology of as-yet undruggable protein targets. In addition to human RNAs, RNAs from other organisms, including bacterial RNAs and RNA viruses, are regarded as leading drug targets for the discovery of new infectious disease agents. Combined, the search for and development of RNA-targeted therapeutics has never been more pressing. Research in the Garner Laboratory is focused on tackling this last frontier in drug discovery. To do so, we engage in interdisciplinary research efforts bridging chemistry and biology. Projects in the lab range from the development of new high-throughput screening technologies for RNAs and RNA-protein interactions to rational drug design, structural biology and chemical biology. Through these diverse research enterprises, we hope to elucidate the druggability of RNA, ultimately leading to the development of next-generation medicines for the betterment of human health.

Awards

  • 2021 MAVEN Senior Scientist, Northwell Health MAVEN Institute
  • 2021 Emerging Leaders Council, Rogel Cancer Center
  • 2019 Standing Membership nomination, DMP study section, NIH
  • 2016 Catalyst Award, Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust