Background: Non-coding RNA (ncRNA) is a new research field in rapid development. It holds the potential to explain many fundamental biological phenomena and there is a vast prospective for the development of ncRNA-derived diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Hence, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are actively looking into this unexplored territory for novel targets.

The regions encompassing protein coding potential (exons) in humans only amount to 2% of the genome. New sequencing techniques have evidenced that mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed and have revealed the existence of multiple classes of ncRNAs. Although our knowledge on the multitude of transcripts produced by the non-coding 98% of the genome is still very sketchy, pivotal roles have been established for ncRNAs in organismal development and homeostasis, in cellular proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis and in a broad range of human pathologies.

Hence, there is a need to educate young scientists in this emerging and important research field. Aside from increasing our collective understanding of essential biological phenomena, ncRNA also constitute a vast and largely unexplored territory for the development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics.

Project overview:

The Vision for RNATRAIN is to educate the next generation of European researchers in the field of ncRNA biology and significantly advance this field of research. To obtain this, our mission is to create a tightly interconnected research training network with sufficient critical mass and a wide spectrum of technical expertise, focusing on multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral research projects. The program is outstanding in Europe and will attract the most skilled ESRs and ERs. We will develop projects that span from the identification of relevant ncRNAs in selected model systems, over functional annotation of ncRNAs in high throughput screening approaches to a range of biochemical and genetic functional analyses.