Learn more about Nicola's research

 ‘Bench to Bedside research expoiting regulatory RNAs: Better understanding the molecular events underlying the function of metabolism-relevant long noncoding RNAs means providing biomedical research with new tools toward the cure for type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related diseases’

So far, I have devoted 14 years of my scientific life to endow the world of  noncoding RNAs with functional insights: Ranging from insects (snRNA and snoRNA in D. melanogaster), to lncRNAs in mouse (Vax2os function in the retina) to human cancer (studying  catabolism of lncRNAs). 

In the Kornfeld lab, I aim to develop new ideas within the framework of the laboratory, which focussed on in vivo mouse models of metabolic disease. In particular, my focus is on whether obesity-associated lncRNAs represent a novel and critical functional link between nutrient signaling and alterations in the well understood insulin signaling pathway. 

I expect to shed new light onto an unprecedented link between lncRNAs and alterations of key energy homeostatic processes, for instance insulin signal transduction during normal physiology and development of metabolic disease. If this approach is successful, metabolically relevant lncRNAs will represent novel and promising therapeutic targets for treatment of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, two alarmingly prevalent health concerns. Fundamentally, the reinstatement of insulin-sensitizing lncRNA abundance and function would constitute a novel approach for future therapies. 

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