National Centers for Translational Research in Reproduction and Infertility

Cornell University

In the past fifteen years, since the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi), it has become clear that small RNA pathways play essential roles in the regulation of gene expression across the animal and plant kingdoms. Nowhere is this more true than in the germline, where specific small RNAs, the PlWI-interacting RNAs (piRNA), reside alongside small interfering RNAs (siRNA) and microRNAs (miRNA). The field has evolved at an alarmingly fast pace, and it is now apparent that small RNAs are likely to be key to many human diseases, the etiology of which have hitherto been unclear. The field of reproductive medicine is likely to lead the way in such studies, both because of the huge interest in piRNAs, and also because of the availability of human gametes for study. In this regard, researchers and physician-scientists within Cornell Center for Reproductive Genomics (CRG) represent an outstanding resource to the clinical community at large for providing tools, techniques, and knowledge to their colleagues interested in small RNA biology in different physiological systems. At the same time, given that RNAi mechanisms are at the cutting edge of medical research, CRG researchers can provide an essential conduit for the flow of information from the research lab to the patient. Thus, the goals of this outreach core are two-fold: (1) to provide a scientific and technical resource for clinicians interested in embarking on research involving small RNA biology in their physiological system of interest, and (2) to provide outreach to the community by means of a state-of-the-art lecture series. The Innovation Seminars in Reproductive Technologies Series (InSeRT), in order to educate patients about the latest advances in our understanding of the genetic and epigenetic basis for human disease. In both aims, investigators from Weill Cornell Medical College and from the Colleges of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, will join forces to provide comprehensive education to scientists, physicians, and the public alike.