Investigating the role of the SAF-A RNA mesh on transcription

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Nick Gilbert

Enrolled since 2021

I carried out my undergraduate degree at the University of Oxford studying Biochemistry. I stayed on at Oxford for my Master’s degree in Prof Rob Klose’s lab where I investigated Polycomb group proteins and developed an interest in chromatin structure and the interplay between gene architecture and transcription. I joined the Institute of Genetics and Cancer, The University of Edinburgh for my PhD under the supervision of Prof Nick Gilbert, continuing with my interest in chromatin. My work focuses on the nuclear mesh formed through the interaction between the protein SAF-A (Scaffold Attachment Factor-A or HNRNP-U) and nuclear RNA. This mesh has been shown to decompact chromatin at active gene loci. I am interested in how this mesh is formed and whether it has a role in transcriptional regulation. I am using heat shock to activate large scale changes in transcription and subsequently characterising the formation of the mesh and specific loci and determining the importance of the mesh on the transcriptional changes. Moreover, I am investigating the properties of the RNA in the mesh and the roles of other proteins associated with the mesh.