Center for RNA Biology and Therapeutics Projects

There is a diversity of approaches to research at City of Hope’s Center for RNA Biology and Therapeutics, encompassing multiple disciplines, phases of study and diseases of interest.

RNA synthesis - Center for RNA Biology and Therapeutics

Currently in development: a therapeutic RNA and delivery vehicle RNA aptamer to treat triple-negative breast cancers. Our confocal microscopy core captured the images of RNA synthesized in our labs. 


Discover Our Labs

We encourage team science and work to connect basic researchers and clinicians. The current list of laboratories affiliated with the Center for RNA Biology and Therapeutics is below. We welcome inquiries from investigators interested in participating.

  • Mark Boldin, M.D., Ph.D.
    Control of inflammation and cancer by noncoding RNA
  • Jianjun Chen, Ph.D.
    Study of the functions and mechanisms of RNA modifications and ncRNAs in cancer, and development of targeted therapeutics to treat cancer
  • Zhen Chen, Ph.D.
    The role of noncoding RNAs and endothelial stress response in diabetes complications
  • Ajay Goel, Ph.D., M.S.
    MicroRNA as a potential signature for pancreatic cancer risk
  • Marcin Kortylewski, Ph.D.
    RNA drugs for precision immunotherapy targeting cancer
  • Guido Marcucci, M.D.
    Clinical testing of molecules that mimic microRNA for leukemia therapy
  • Rama Natarajan, Ph.D.
    Translational approaches targeting epigenetic changes and noncoding RNAs for the treatment of diabetic complications
  • Steven Rosen, M.D.
    Using RNA-based analogs and cell signaling regulators to interfere with cancer growth

View Our Key Publications

  • Magilnick N, Reyes EY, Wang WL, Vonderfecht SL, Gohda J, Inoue JI, Boldin MP. miR-146a-Traf6 regulatory axis controls autoimmunity and myelopoiesis, but is dispensable for hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis and tumor suppression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Aug 22;114(34):E7140-E7149. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1706833114. Epub 2017 Aug 7. PMID: 28784800; PMCID: PMC5576818.
  • Huang H, Weng H, Zhou K, Wu T, Zhao BS, Sun M, Chen Z, Deng X, Xiao G, Auer F, Klemm L, Wu H, Zuo Z, Qin X, Dong Y, Zhou Y, Qin H, Tao S, Du J, Liu J, Lu Z, Yin H, Mesquita A, Yuan CL, Hu YC, Sun W, Su R,  Dong L, Shen C, Li C, Qing Y, Jiang X, Wu X, Sun M, Guan JL, Qu LH, Wei M, Müschen  M, Huang G, He C, Yang JH, Chen J. Histone H3 Trimethylation at Lysine 36 Guides m6A RNA Modification Co-transcriptionally. Nature. 2019 Mar 21;567(7748):414-419. PMCID: PMC6438714.
  • Tang X, Miao Y, Luo Y, Sriram K, Qi Z, Lin FM, Gu Y, Lai CH, Hsu CY, Peterson KL, Van Keuren-Jensen K, Fueger PT, Yeo GW, Natarajan R, Zhong S, Chen ZB. Suppression of Endothelial AGO1 Promotes Adipose Tissue Browning and Improves Metabolic Dysfunction. Circulation. 2020 Jul 28;142(4):365-379. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.041231. Epub 2020 May 12. Erratum in: Circulation. 2021 Apr 20;143(16):e871. PMID: 32393053; PMCID: PMC7390348.
  • Shimura T, Kandimalla R, Okugawa Y, Ohi M, Toiyama Y, He C, Goel A. Novel evidence for m6A methylation regulators as prognostic biomarkers and FTO as a potential therapeutic target in gastric cancer. Br J Cancer. 2021 Oct 21. doi: 10.1038/s41416-021-01581-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34675398.
  • Moreira D, Sampath S, Won H, White SV, Su Y-L, Alcantara M, Wang C, Lee P, Maghami E, Massarelli E, Kortylewski M. Myeloid Cell-Targeted STAT3 Inhibition Sensitizes Head and Neck Cancers to Radiotherapy and T cell-Mediated Immunity. J. Clin. Invest., 19, e137001, 2021.
  • Zhang B, Nguyen LXT, Li L, Zhao D, Kumar B, Wu H, Lin A, Pellicano F, Hopcroft L, Su YL, Copland M, Holyoake TL, Kuo CJ, Bhatia R, Snyder DS, Ali H, Stein AS, Brewer C, Wang H, McDonald T, Swiderski P, Troadec E, Chen CC, Dorrance A, Pullarkat V, Yuan YC, Perrotti D, Carlesso N, Forman SJ, Kortylewski M, Kuo YH, Marcucci G. Bone marrow niche trafficking of miR-126 controls the self-renewal of leukemia stem cells in chronic myelogenous leukemia. Nat Med. 2018 May;24(4):450-462. doi: 10.1038/nm.4499. Epub 2018 Mar 5. PMID: 29505034; PMCID: PMC5965294.
  • Idris A, Davis A, Supramaniam A, Acharya D, Kelly G, Tayyar Y, West N, Zhang P, McMillan CLD, Soemardy C, Ray R, O’Meally D, Scott TA, McMillan NAJ, Morris KV. A SARS-CoV-2 targeted siRNA-nanoparticle therapy for COVID-19. Mol Ther. 2021 Jul 7;29(7):2219-2226. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2021.05.004. Epub 2021 May 14. PMID: 33992805
  • Kato M, Wang M, Chen Z,  Deshpande D,  Bhatt K, Jia Y, Oh HJ,  Lanting L, Lai JYC, O’Connor CL,  Wu YF, Hodgin JB, Nelson RG, Bitzer M, Natarajan R. (2016)  An Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-regulated lncRNA hosting a microRNA megacluster induces Early features of Diabetic Nephropathy. Nature Communications 7: 12864. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12864.  PMCID: PMC5553130
  •  Zhou J, Li H, Xia X, Herrera A, Pollock N, Reebye V, Sodergren MH, Dorman S, Littman BH, Doogan D, Huang K-W, Habib R, Blakey D, Habib NA, Rossi JJ, Anti-inflammatory Activity of MTL-CEBPA, a Small Activating RNA Drug, in LPS-Stimulated Monocytes and Humanized Mice. Molecular Therapy. Volume 27, Issue 5 (2019). Pages 999-1016, ISSN 1525-0016,
  • Reebye. V., Saetrom, P., Mintz, P.J., Huang, K.-W., Swiderski, P., Peng, L., Liu, C., Liu, X., Lindkaer-Jensen, S., Zacharoulis, D., Kostomitsopoulos, N., Kasahara, N., Nicholls, J.P., Jiao, L.R., Pai, M., Spalding, D.R., Mizandari, M., Chikovain, T., Emara, M.M., Haoudi, A., Tomalia, D.A., Rossi, J.J. and Habib, N.A. (2014) A Novel RNA oligonucleotide improves liver function and inhibits liver carcinogenesis in vivo. Hepatology  59(1): 216-227. PMCID: PMC4655108
  • Voutila, J., Reebye, V., Roberts, R.C., Protopapa, P., Andrikakou, P., Balkey, D.C., Habib, R., Huber, H., Saetrom, P., Rossi, J.J. and Habib. N. (2017) Development and mechanism of small activating RNA targeting CEBPA, a novel therapeutic in clinical trials for liver cancer. Mol. Ther., 25(12): 2705-2714. PMCID: PMC5768526
  • Zhou, J.H., Lazar, D., Li, H., Xia, X., Satheesan, S., Charlins, P., O’Mealy, D., Akkina, R., Saayman, S., Weinberg, M.S., Rossi, J.J. and Morris, K.V. (2018) Receptor-targeted aptamer-siRNA conjugate-directed transcriptional regulation of HIV-1. Theranostics, 8(6): 1575-1590. PMCID: PMC5858168
  • Reebye, V., Huang, K.-W., Lin, V., Jarvis, S., Cutilas, P., Dorman, S., Ciriello, S., Andrikakou, P., Voutila, J., Saetrom, P., Mintz, P.J., Reccia, I., Rossi, J.J., Huber, H., Habib, R., Kostomitsopoulos, N., Balkey, D.C., Habib, N.A. (2018) Gene activation of CEBPA using saRNA: preclinical studies of the first in human saRNA drub candidate for liver cancer. Oncogene, 37(24): 3216-3228, PMCID: PMC6013054
  • Huang, K.W., Reebye, V., Czysz, K., Ciriello, s., Dorman, s., Reccia, I., Lai, H.S., Peng, L., Kostomitsopoulos, N., Nicolls, J., Habib, R.S., Tomalia, D.A., Saetrom, P., Wilkes, E., Cutillas, P., Rossi, J.J. and Habib, N.A. (2020) Liver Activation of Hepatocellular Nuclear Factor-4α by Small Activating RNA Rescues Dyslipidemia and Improves Metabolic Profile. Mol. Ther. Nucl. Acids. 19(6): 361-370. PMCID: PMC6938799
  • Setten, R.L., Chomchan, P., Epps, E.W., Burnett, J.D. and Rossi, J.J. (2021) CRED9: A differentially expressed elncRNA regulates expressing of transcription factor CEBPA. RNA J. RNA. 2021 Aug; 27(8): 891-906. doi: 10.1261/rna.078752.121  PMCID:  PMC8284328
  • Cui Q, Yin K, Zhang X, Ye P, Chen X, Chao J, Meng H, Wei J, Daniel R, Li L, Qin Y, Sun, G, Zhang M, Klein J, Huynhle M, Wang C, Zhang L, Badie B, Kalkum M, He C, Yi C, Shi Y. 2021. Targeting PUS7 suppresses tRNA pseudouridylation and glioblastoma tumorigenesis. Nature Cancer 
  • Su R*, Dong L*, Li Y*, Gao M*, Han L*, Wunderlich M, Deng X, Li H, Huang Y, Gao L, Li C, Zhao Z, Robinson S,  Tan B, Qing Y, Qin X, Prince E, Xie J, Qin H, Li W, Shen C, Sun J, Kulkarni P,  Weng H, Huang H, Chen Z, Zhang B, Wu X, Olsen MJ, Müschen M, Marcucci G, Salgia R, Li L, Fathi AT, Li Z, Mulloy JC, Wei M, Horne D, Chen J. Targeting FTO suppresses cancer stem cell maintenance and immune evasion. Cancer Cell. 2020 May 13;S1535-6108(20)30216-6.
  • Yin S, Gambe R, Sun, J, Martinez, AZ, Cartun JZ, Regis, F, Wan Y, Fan, J, Brooks, AN, Herman SE, ten Hacken E, Taylor-Weiner, A, Rassenti L, Ghia EM, Kipps TJ, Obeng EA, Cibulaskis C, Neuberg D, Campagna DR, Fleming MD, Ebert BL, Wiestner A, Leshchiner I, DeCaprio JA, Getz G, Reed R, Carrasco RD, Wu CJ, Wang L. A murine model of chronic lymphocytic leukemia based on B cell-restricted expression of Sf3b1 mutation and Atm deletion. Cancer Cell 2019 35(2):283-296. PMC6372356
  • Wang Z, Pan Z, Adhikari S, Harada BT, Shen L, Yuan W, Abeywardana T, Al-Hadid Q, Stark JM, He C, Lin L, Yang Y. m6 A deposition is regulated by PRMT1-mediated arginine methylation of METTL14 in its disordered C-terminal region. EMBO J. 2021 Mar 1;40(5):e106309. doi: 10.15252/embj.2020106309. Epub 2021 Jan 18. PMID: 33459381; PMCID: PMC7917551.
  • Ma S, Yan J, Barr T, Zhang J, Chen Z, Wang LS, Sun JC, Chen J, Caligiuri MA, Yu J. The RNA m6A reader YTHDF2 controls NK cell antitumor and antiviral immunity. J Exp Med. 2021 Aug 2;218(8):e20210279. doi: 10.1084/jem.20210279. Epub 2021 Jun 23. PMID: 34160549; PMCID: PMC8225680.
  • Zhang B, Nguyen LXT, Li L, Zhao D, Kumar B, Wu H, Lin A, Pellicano F, Hopcroft L, Su YL, Copland M, Holyoake TL, Kuo CJ, Bhatia R, Snyder DS, Ali H, Stein AS, Brewer C, Wang H, McDonald T, Swiderski P, Troadec E, Chen CC, Dorrance A, Pullarkat V, Yuan YC, Perrotti D, Carlesso N, Forman SJ, Kortylewski M, Kuo YH, Marcucci G. (2018) Bone marrow niche trafficking of miR-126 controls the self-renewal of leukemia stem cells in chronic myelogenous leukemia. Nat Med. 24(4):450-462, PMID: 29505034; PMCID: PMC5965294