The Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) announced that a team that includes Dr. Piero Carninci from RIKEN Omics Science Center has been awarded a Program Grant. The team, which includes researchers in the Italy and Switzerland, will study the relationship between DNA damage response (DDR) and nuclear non-coding short RNA. DDR activation is thought to be the causative molecular mechanism responsible for senescence establishment. The research group will investigate how non-coding RNAs activate DDR. Dr. Carninci’s role in this research project is to coordinate the genomics analysis, in particular to analyze the RNAs that interact with the chromatin at the DNA breakage site and map their function. The project is led by Dr. Fabrizio d'Adda di Fagagna of FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology ( IFOM) Foundation (Italy) and also includes Dr. Mihaela Zavolan of University of Basel (Switzerland).
HFSP is a part of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization, which was proposed by Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan in 1987 and is based in France. The HFSP grants, supported by the governments and research councils of multiple member companies, support international, collaborative, risk-taking research on biological systems.
Dr. Carninci says, “It is a great pleasure that we scored as the second best project for the year 2012. The evaluation committee has recognized the growing importance of the non-protein coding RNAs in various fields of biology, and fully supported our idea that they are also related to the repair of DNA. We are fully committed to demonstrate that the non-coding RNAs, which had been originally identified by the FANTOM project, have multiple important functions and will open new frontiers in biology and in medicine”.