Dr. Andreas Werner of the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences at Newcastle University delivers a detailed overview of current research pertaining to the human genome.
Dr. Werner is skilled in many areas; he is a biochemist, molecular biologist, journalist, and teacher, currently working as an associate professor at Newcastle University specializing in RNA biology. Dr. Werner is widely known for his innovative work in the field of non-protein coding RNAs, specifically natural antisense transcripts. Dr. Werner received a PhD in Physiology at the University of Zurich.
Dr. Werner discusses his current work studying the human genome. Our genomes show small variations that make each person unique. With modern genome sequencing, the detection of mutations is now not only fast and efficient, but it is finally affordable. Dr. Werner talks about their specific work in this space. They are leading the way, investigating how mutations affect function, of various membrane proteins, in order to better grasp the underlying mechanisms of specific diseases.
Dr. Werner explains transcription. Transcription is the initial step of gene expression, when a specific segment of DNA is copied into RNA by the enzyme RNA polymerase. DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids that use base pairs of nucleotides as a compatible, harmonious language. Dr. Werner and his team are particularly interested in the function of noncoding RNAs in the organization of the genome as well as the regulation of single genes.
The genome expert discusses some of the hypotheses that they are currently working on, and why. He explains cell structure and viral structure, and talks about the balance within cells. As Dr. Werner explains, double stranded RNA could possibly be a sign of low-level stress that occurs with aging, or other issue, and his team is looking for answers to multiple questions regarding links to degenerative disease. He talks about the importance of finding these double stranded RNAs to distinguish whether they are confined within the mitochondria and the nucleus or if they perhaps are leaking out and are interfering with protective mechanisms. Going further, Dr. Werner talks about specific inflammatory responses and some of the known and unknown factors regarding double stranded RNA.
Dr. Werner is a sought-after speaker at various world conferences on the subject of regulatory RNAs, epigentics and evolution. And he continues to work diligently toward the goal of deciphering a biological role for natural antisense transcripts.