We aim to understand how translational output is connected with gene regulatory pathways to ensure the tight coupling between organismal development and key cellular decisions.
Ribosomes determine a cell’s capacity to make proteins required for growth. Because of this causal relationship, cellular growth and ribosomes are tightly connected to maintain synchronicity across different systems of a multicellular organism. We are determined to identify and characterize the genetic factors that connect translation machinery and cellular/organismal growth.
C. elegans provides an amenable system with a short life-cycle and a variety of established tools: a well-defined cell lineage, a detailed cyto-anatomy, history of genetic screens, balancer chromosomes, and recent genetic engineering advancements including fast introduction of mutations via CRISPR-Cas9 and the ability to create precise mosaics through gpr-1 overexpression mediated non-mendelian inheritance. In addition, ribosomal proteins and key signaling pathways are highly conserved between C. elegans and humans. We are in a unique position to use these systems for genome-wide screens to identify the genetics factors that (i) mitigate phenotypic consequences of ribosomal protein haploinsufficiencies and (ii) suppress cell non-autonomous influences of ribosomal protein null cells over wild-type cellular growth in mosaic systems.
Overall, our research will provide an unbiased systematic analysis of how translational output is connected with gene regulatory pathways to ensure the tight coupling between organismal development and key cellular decisions. Such analysis will also provide concrete steps towards understanding disease systems where the connection between cellular growth and ribosomes is broken. For example, stoichiometric imbalances within ribosomal proteins and abnormally large nucleoli are frequent in cancers. Similarly, haploinsufficiencies within ~16 different ribosomal proteins cause a genetic disorder, Diamond Blackfan Anemia, which leads to congenital abnormalities and hematological defects combined with increased cancer risk.
The Sarinay Cenik Lab is an interdisciplinary and collaborative team who tackles fundamental questions with cutting edge science. We aim for critical and outside the box thinking in a respectful, friendly and fun research environment. Our lab endeavors to do high-quality reproducible science and to train future scientists with exciting research agendas.
Joining our lab
We are looking for highly motivated junior and experienced scientists who are interested in fundamental questions in cell and developmental biology with backgrounds in genetics, computation biology, cell biology, or biochemistry. We currently have open positions for post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, graduate and undergraduate students. If interested, please email your CV along with your references to esarinayATutexas.edu