Ya-MingHou.jpg

We are interested in the specificity of translation of the genetic code, focusing on the questions of how tRNAs are synthesized, matured, modified, aminoacylated, and function on the ribosome.

The tRNA molecules are essential for the specificity of decoding, which is the key determinant in the speed and quality of cell growth. Elevated levels of tRNAs can lead to cancer, while deficiency in tRNAs can lead to cell toxicity.

Our research provides the basis to gain biochemical, structural, and bioinformatic insights into tRNAs in evolution. These insights are important for understanding the origins of the genetic code and for developing new strategies for drug targeting against diseases arising from errors of tRNA functions.

tRNA_world.png

We have developed a variety of methods, including biochemical, structural, kinetic, and genetic approaches. We focus on one representative enzyme in each case and build a framework of information by examining the enzyme in the larger biological context. Because tRNAs are ancient and enzymes that interact and recognize tRNAs are also ancient, we have a large database to search for related and homologous enzymes in evolution. The tRNA-interacting network is broad and include enzymes and proteins that are in pathways unrelated to protein synthesis. Some of our work published in various journals is mentioned in our publications page.


November 18, 2018

Postdoctoral Positions for RNA Research

Postdoctoral positions are available in the lab of Dr. Ya-Ming Hou at Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College. We study epigenetic post-transcriptional modifications of tRNA and how they impact codon-specific translation in diseases. Codon-specific translation is a new mechanism that regulates gene expression at the codon level and it is determined by tRNA epigenetic modifications, which are activated or repressed by stress. Current projects focus on two areas:

  1. Regulation of gene expression in neurodegenerate diseases by epigenetic tRNA modifications.

  2. Codon-specific translation in response to stress.

For more information, please see the following publications and our website:

https://www.jefferson.edu/university/research/researcher/researcher-faculty/hou-laboratory.html

Candidates with an expected or recent Ph.D. and a strong research track record are encouraged to apply. Experience in RNA-seq, high-throughput data analysis, fluorescence microscopy, cell culture, molecular biology, protein enzymology, nucleic acid research, and mitochondrial research is preferred. Please send a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information of three references to:

Ya-Ming Hou
Professor of Biochemistry and Mol Biology
Thomas Jefferson University
233 S. 10 th Street, BLSB 220
Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
T: 215-503-4480
Email: ya-ming.hou@jefferson.edu