Sarah Natalia Mapelli, computational researcher in the Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapeutics group, successfully defended her PhD on January 29th 2019, at Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) within the SIB PhD training network. She presented her work “Deciphering the complexity of human noncoding promoter-proximal transcriptome: different scales of transcriptional control”, derived from a fruitful collaboration between the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR) and the Institute of Computational Science (ICS) of the USI and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB). Her project, which led to two publications and numerous presentations at scientific meetings, focused on the characterization of noncoding RNA transcribed within the promoters of genes. These newly identified RNA molecules exert transcriptional control on gene expression through multiple epigenetic mechanisms and may be involved in oncogenic deregulation. These studies provide novel insights in tumor biology and may open the field to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment.
The PhD supervisors were Prof. Carlo Catapano (IOR Director) and Prof. Rolf Krause (ICS Director) and the PhD thesis committee was composed of Prof. Andrea Cavalli (IRB), Prof. Vittorio Limongelli (USI), Prof. Philipp Bucher (EPFL), Prof. Antonietta Mira (USI) and Prof. Igor Pivkin (USI).