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Chad Pecot, MD, associate professor of medicine and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, will lead the new center dedicated to the investigation of the many roles of RNA in health and disease.

The UNC RNA Discovery Center, funded through the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, will cultivate an inclusive community of scientists dedicated to investigating all aspects of RNA biology, some of which has already been implicated in human diseases and much of which we know very little about.

Led by director Chad Pecot, MD, UNC Lineberger member and associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine’s Division of Oncology in the UNC Department of Medicine, the new center includes UNC’s multidisciplinary group of renowned RNA scientists, including center co-directors and UNC Lineberger members:

“Our main goals are to recruit and train the world’s top talent in RNA research,” Pecot said, “to make key discoveries in the basic and translational sciences, to study the various roles of RNA in health and disease, and to commercialize RNA-based tools and medicines to help the people of North Carolina and around the world. We’re also creating a strong environment of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we’re planning to be intentional about how we support traditionally disadvantaged trainees.”

The center will support graduate and post-doctorate fellowships, faculty collaborations and several key staff to support the Center’s infrastructure. “The center will also begin applying for collaborative funding mechanisms, ranging from multi-PI R01s, foundational grants all the way to program project grants,” Pecot added.

The RNA Discovery Center is rapidly growing and already consists of faculty across the UNC School of Medicine, UNC Lineberger, the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Please contact Chad Pecot if you have an interest in learning more.

Here is a full list of current center researchers:

Kevin Weeks, PhD, Chemistry, UNC Lineberger (RNA structure)

Alain Laederach, PhD, Biology, UNC Lineberger (structure and informatics; translation)

Silvia Ramos, MD, PhD, Biochemistry & Biophysics, UNC Lineberger (RNA binding proteins, animal models)

Sarah Linnstaedt, PhD, Anesthesiology (miRNA mechanisms and biomarkers)

Dan Dominguez, PhD, Pharmacology, UNC Lineberger (alternative splicing)

Hector Franco, PhD, Genetics, UNC Lineberger (alternative splicing, enhancer RNAs)

Jimena Guidice, PhD, Cell Biology & Physiology (alternative splicing, animal models)

Greg Matera, PhD, Biology, UNC Lineberger (animal models)

Jesse Raab, PhD, Genetics, UNC Lineberger (animal Models)

Stan Lemon, MD, Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, UNC Lineberger, Global Health (RNA viruses)

Nat Moorman, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology, UNC Linberger (RNA viruses)

Tim Sheahan, PhD, Gillings (RNA viruses)

Mark Heise, PhD, Genetics, UNC Lineberger, Global Health (RNA viruses)

Craig Cameron, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology (RNA viruses)

Paul Armistead, MD, PhD, Medicine, UNC Lineberger (Splicing, neoantigens and mRNA vaccines)

Leaf Huang, PhD, Eshelman, Biomedical Engineering, UNC Lineberger (nano formulation of RNAs)

Owen Fenton, PhD, Eshelman (Nano Formulation of RNAs)

Ronit Freeman, PhD, Applied Physical Sciences, UNC Lineberger (synthetic RNA)

Todd Cohen, PhD, Neurology, Neurosciences Research Center