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Ram Savan, Ph.D.
The Ram laboratory investigates the regulation of immune genes and its impact on viral infection and autoimmunity. Immune genes undergo extensive positive selection by exploiting multiple molecular mechanisms to change their expression levels. These evolutionary adaptations allow the host to respond to environmental pressures and protect themselves against infection. One method of adaptation involves single nucleotide polymorphisms in the non-coding regions of the gene, which alters their secondary structure and binding affinity to post-transcriptional regulators. Such polymorphisms in key immune genes have significant impact on the progression and outcome of infection or autoimmunity. We are interested in identifying these post-transcriptional regulators of immune effectors that include RNA binding proteins and non-coding RNAs. To understand the complexity of these pathways, we employ robust computational and functional approaches, harnessing the power of high-throughput sequencing and rigorous hypothesis-driven biological characterization of novel gene targets.