Dr. Kristopher Silver
RNA interference (RNAi) was first described in nematodes when double-stranded RNA was shown to specifically inhibit gene expression of its complement. Subsequently, RNAi responses have been documented in a wide range of organisms and cell types. Interestingly, though, systemic RNAi responses, wherein the interfering signal is communicated throughout an organism, are limited to a small number of orders of invertebrates, including specific orders of insects, like beetles. Our laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanisms that promote the systemic RNAi response in model insects using a variety of in vitro and in vivo techniques. Our goals include finding ways that systemic RNAi responses can be exploited for various purposes including treatment of disease states, like cancer.