Jan 22nd, Yang Li: Use of alternative micro-exons in the developing brain

Yang Li, Oxford University

Yang Li, Oxford University

Less than 5% of all annotated internal exons are 51bp or shorter (micro-exons). The sharp decline in the number of exons of decreasing sizes below 51bp suggests that micro-exons are strongly disfavoured, possibly because the splicing machinery struggles to detect or splice out introns flanking short exons. Surprisingly, over a thousand micro-exons have been annotated within human genes, yet their functional roles have largely been overlooked. I will discuss my work on identifying the roles of micro-exons with a particular focus on micro-exons expressed during human brain development. I will also describe putative regulatory mechanisms that are able to control the usage of these micro-exons in a context-specific manner. Additionally, I will present a simple strategy that allows the discovery of novel micro-exons from next-generation sequencing data, which complements general de novo exon discovery tools such as Cufflinks.

About Yang

At the end of his maths and computer science undergraduate degree at McGill, Yang started to discover biology as a new interest. Fascinated by ageing and the large differences in life expectancy across animals, he started to work on the comparative biology of ageing, first during a summer internship in George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School, and then as a MPhil project at the University of Liverpool under the supervision of Joao Pedro de Magalhaes. He later moved to the University of Oxford for his PhD to study comparative genomics with Richard Copley and Chris Ponting. In Oxford, Yang made major contributions to the genome and transcriptome analysis of five East-African cichlids and also of the hyperthermophile worm paralvinella sulfincola. He also participated in the study of the painted turtle and bowhead whale genomes. Currently, he is investigating gene architecture evolution with particular emphasis on alternative splicing regulation.

Seminar details

Wednesday Jan 22nd, 2014

12:45 PM Lunch: sign up sheet here. Come early for lunch, because we cannot take food into the seminar room!

1:15 PM Seminar starts.

Location: Munzer Hall (after Li Ka Shing on the medical campus)

Host: Jonathan Pritchard

Schedule: Tara Trim (ttrim at stanford.edu)


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