Ahmad Khalil, assistant professor in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at the School of Medicine, has been selected to speak at the 16thChinese-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium.
The symposium, co-sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, was held in Beijing Oct. 11-13.
The symposium is the academy’s premier activity for distinguished young scientists and takes into account an overview of advances and opportunities in a wide-ranging set of disciplines. A committee of academy members selects the attendees—young researchers who already have made recognized contributions to science, including recipients of major fellowships and awards.
Before coming to Case Western Reserve University, Khalil authored a paper that identified more than 3,300 novel genes in human cells, referred to as long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs). The publication demonstrated that many lincRNAs are important for regulating the epigenome: the information in our cells that is encoded outside of the DNA sequence itself.
At Case Western Reserve, Khalil’s lab—in collaboration with several members of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center—studies lincRNAs in the context of human disease such as cancer and birth defects. Khalil and his collaborators used several novel approaches to identify key lincRNAs that are deregulated in human breast, colon and lung cancers.
Moving forward, Khalil hopes to develop RNA-based therapeutic approaches in which cancer cells can be targeted without affecting neighboring healthy cells.