PittPharmacy Assistant Professor Da Yang, MD, PhD will collaborate with Lei Yang, Associate Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in a NIH funded project titled “Identification of Novel Human LncRNAs Controlling Human Cardiogenesis.” The research objective is to perform the state-of-art next generation sequencing, gene editing, and machine learning technologies to identify and validate novel human lncRNAs that are essential to human control human-specific cardiogenesis and heart function.

During the past decades, one major focus of heart developmental and pathological biology is on genes that are conserved across multiple species and play key roles in controlling heart development across different species. However, human heart has different size, electrophysiological properties and distinct developmental process from other species such as rodents. Why such species-specific differences exist and what gene programs control human-specific cardiogenesis and heart function are still remaining unknown.

Recently, accumulating evidences showed that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important roles in cell fate specification and organ-specific. Moreover, recent evidences demonstrated dysregulated lncRNAs could cause various cardiovascular diseases. All these evidences suggest that some human-specific lncRNAs genes may regulate human-specific cardiogenesis.

Discovery of such novel human lncRNAs will uncover a new layer of regulatory mechanism underlying human-specific heart development and disease and provide novel targets for drug development.

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