I was recruited as Assistant Professor to The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix (UA-COMP) from Heidelberg University Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, where I was a postdoctoral researcher. My academic and research training includes RNA biology, eukaryotic biology, genome research, and comprehensive training in theoretical and applied bioinformatics. At UA-COMP, in the Department of Internal Medicine and in the new Translational Cardiovascular Research Center I established my independent research group that develops state-of-the-art computational approaches to answer cardiovascular questions, with a specific interest in the dynamics of circular RNAs and RNA biology in health and disease.
My lab employs computational as well as molecular biology approaches in our studies. This involves novel computational methods for detection and analysis of RNA from sequencing data, with a specific focus on empowering researchers using our software by making it user-friendly and accessible. We also establish new molecular assays that will help to shed light on functions of specific RNA molecules. We are especially focused on cardiovascular disease since it is the leading cause of death globally and early diagnosis and treatment are of utmost importance for public health. My current research utilizes computational and biological approaches to examine roles for different RNA species in cardiovascular diseases such as pathological cardiac hypertrophy, a condition that is characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle, a decrease in the size of the chambers of the heart, and a reduced capacity of the heart to pump blood around the body. My lab is working to generate a deeper understanding of the role of RNA molecules in disease by characterizing candidate molecules that in the future might be used to identify diseases during routine checkups, thus helping patients to receive treatment as early as possible.