Non-coding RNA (ncRNA) is a new research field in rapid development. It holds the potential to explain many fundamental biological phenomena and there is a vast prospective for the development of ncRNA-derived diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Hence, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are actively looking into this unexplored territory for novel targets. Therefore, there is a substantial and unmet need for the training of scientists in ncRNA biology, methodology and exploitation.
The regions encompassing protein coding potential (exons) in humans only amount to 2% of the genome. New sequencing techniques have evidenced that mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed and have revealed the existence of multiple classes of ncRNAs. Although our knowledge on the multitude of transcripts produced by the non-coding 98% of the genome is still very sketchy, pivotal roles have been established for ncRNAs in organismal development and homeostasis, in cellular proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis and in a broad range of human pathologies.
Hence, there is a need to educate young scientists in this emerging and important research field. Aside from increasing our collective understanding of essential biological phenomena, ncRNA also constitute a vast and largely unexplored territory for the development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics.
Accordingly, we propose to form a European RNA training network, RNATRAIN. This network will be devoted to educating the next generation of European researchers focusing on the functions and importance of ncRNAs in multidisciplinary projects in which the ncRNAs are studied in the context of development, differentiation and disease. Towards this, a group of 9 top-quality European research laboratories and 2 companies from 8 countries will train, to the best level, a cohort of early-stage researchers using cutting-edge technologies to dissect the functions and potentials of ncRNAs through integrated multidisciplinary projects.
University of Copenhagen The Netherlands Cancer Institute Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine
Gothenburg University Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR University of Basel
Universita Degli Studi di Roma la Sapienza University of Regensburg Intana Bioscience GmbH