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PhD defense Talent development

Henriette Sylvain Thomsen: Circular RNAs and their protein partners-in-crime

PhD defence, Monday 11 October 2021. Henriette Sylvain Thomsen.

Henriette Sylvain Thomsen
Henriette Sylvain Thomsen

The recent discovery of circular RNAs (circRNAs) has further expanded the understanding of genome complexity. These biomolecules are unique by their enclosed structure, and they have been associated with a broad range of biological processes in many different cell types. The current knowledge on the functions of circRNAs within cells is, however, still limited.

During her PhD studies, Henriette Sylvain Thomsen examined circRNAs and their interactions with proteins, and specifically with a subset associated with stress granules. Upon cellular stress, a special type of membrane-less compartment called stress granules (SGs) can form within the cytoplasm of cells. Based on transcriptome analysis, Henriette Sylvain Thomsen found that some circRNAs accumulate in SGs together with other RNAs. Additionally, she demonstrated that select circRNAs bind SG-proteins and she investigated, if circRNAs can influence SG-development during cellular stress e.g. through these protein interactions.

The research findings implicate circular RNAs in a novel context of stress granules and their dynamics, and it also highlights circular RNAs as potent scaffolds for protein interactions.

The PhD study was completed at Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University. This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Monday, 11 October 2021, 16:00
Place: The PhD defence will be held online. To receive a link to the event, please send an e-mail to Christian Kroun Damgaard ckd@mbg.au.dk
Title of PhD thesis: Functional impact of circular RNA-protein interactions
Contact information: Henriette Sylvain Thomsen, e-mail: henriettesylvainthomsen@mbg.au.dk, tel.: +45 40179151

Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Brage Storstein Andresen, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark

Professor Christine Mayr, Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Associate professor Anni Hangaard Andersen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University (chair)

Main supervisor:
Assistant Professor Christian Kroun Damgaard, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics Aarhus University, Denmark

Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Natural Sciences/GSNS, Katrinebjergvej 89F, building 5132, 8200 Aarhus N.