Elena Grossi – University of Copenhagen

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Elena Grossi - ESR8


Main Host Institution: FIMA (Foundation for Applied Medical Research)

Academic Background: I achieved my Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences at Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) in 2011, presenting an experimental thesis project on the regulation of microRNA gene expression.

In 2013, I completed my Master’s Degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology at Sapienza University. In my Master’s thesis project, I studied the functional relationship between non-coding RNAs and RNA binding proteins involved in the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.

Project title: The role of long non-coding RNAs in senescence

Project background: Senescence is a condition of permanent growth arrest that occurs when cells experience oncogenic stress. To prevent cancer development, tumor suppressor pathways prompt a systematic change in gene expression by inducing pervasive chromatin reorganization.

Although the involvement of protein coding factors in this process has been deeply investigated, the role of non-coding RNA molecules, such as long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), remains poorly explored, despite they are emerging as important regulators of gene expression.

Project Aim: Since mounting evidences suggest that lncRNAs can regulate epigenetic changes in many cellular processes and knowing that senescence response implies a general chromatin remodelling, it is likely that lncRNAs may influence senescence onset by mediating such epigenetic reorganization.

The aim of my project is to identify and functionally characterize lncRNAs playing a role in senescence response through epigenetic regulation.

Expected outcome: Taking advantage of high-throughput and cellular based techniques, I will identify lncRNAs that phenotypically affect cellular senescence. The most relevant candidates will undergo further molecular studies to define their structure and elucidate their functions.

Unveiling the lncRNA contribution to cellular senescence will add a new layer of complexity to the regulation of this process, shading new lights on senescence response and cancer development.