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Research groups

Niamh Owens

FHS Student

My project involves investigating the functional role of the long noncoding RNA Wt1-as in epicardial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Following injury in the adult heart, the quiescent epicardium re-activates EMT. Upon injury, the Brg1-SWI/SNF chromatin-remodelling complex is known to epigenetically alter the conformation of the locus encoding the key EMT regulator, the Wilms’ tumour 1 (WT1). The WT1 antisense long noncoding transcripts (WT1as lncRNA) refine the overall epicardial activity upon infarction; however, at present the functional requirements and blueprint of the noncoding genome remain elusive. In the project, we aim to functionally characterise the role of Wt1as lncRNA in EMT by using in-house cell-based models targeting initially the mouse, and later human, epicardium and loss-of-function vs gain-of-function approaches.