Daniel CiFuentes

Assistant Professor, MED Biochemistry

  • Title Assistant Professor, MED Biochemistry
  • Office 72 E. Concord Street, K6 Boston MA 02118
  • Education University of Barcelona, BS
    University of Barcelona, BS
    University of Barcelona, PhD

The beginning of a new life is one of the most enigmatic and dynamic events in Biology. Upon fertilization, two highly specialized cells, sperm and oocyte, fuse together to develop into an organism. However, it requires a vast reorganization of gene expression to render all the different tissues and cell types of the developing embryo from these primordial cells.cifuenteslabmodel

The long term goal of my laboratory is to understand how post-transcriptional regulation of RNA and proteins orchestrates development of a single cell oocyte into a whole embryo and how these mechanisms can be extrapolated to other biological transitions such as cellular reprogramming or malignant transformation.

Post-transcriptional regulation has a profound impact on vertebrate embryonic development and clear implications in other biological transitions such as cellular reprogramming and disease, but several fundamental questions remain unanswered: First, what are the targets and in vivo binding motifs of the RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that shape gene expression during embryogenesis? Second, how does the concerted regulation of RBPs and their targets govern embryonic reprogramming? And third, how does microRNA processing and activity affects cell fate?

To address these questions, my laboratory focuses on the mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation during vertebrate embryogenesis using zebrafish as a model system. This will allow us to dissect the process of reprogramming in vivo within the context of a whole organism. The combination of fish embryo microinjection together with powerful genetic, genomic, and proteomic approaches (figure 1) provides a unique platform to address these central questions in biology.

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