The realization that most human genes generate multiple mRNAs encoding different protein isoforms and variable untranslated regions via alternative splicing and alternative polyadenylation has revealed an extensive degree of regulation that remains to be explored.
The Cooper Lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of this regulation, from how RNA binding proteins regulate splicing of individual pre-mRNAs to the signaling events that coordinate RNA processing networks during development.
A second major interest in the lab is the pathogenic mechanism of myotonic dystrophy in which disruption of developmentally regulated RNA processing causes primary features of the disease. Mechanistic understanding of myotonic dystrophy has led to development of therapeutic approaches being testing using mouse models established in the lab.
The overlapping areas of investigation provide opportunities for synergistic interactions within the lab in which knowledge gained in one area fosters understanding in the others.