Nature publication case study: High-content genome-wide RNAi screens identify regulators of parkin upstream of mitophagy

This free webinar discusses how RNAi technology was used to reveal genes that may represent new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease

Webinar abstract: Gene silencing through RNA interference (RNAi) has revolutionized our ability to interrogate gene function. Since its discovery in Caenorhabditis elegans, RNAi has been established in many additional organisms, including Drosophila and mammalian cells, and methods that exploit RNAi have become important tools for biologists. Over the past decade, numerous siRNA screens have informed areas of human biology ranging from basic cellular processes to complex disease phenotypes. A recent study by Hasson et al. (Nature, 2013) coupled siRNA screening with cells expressing GFP-parkin to identify genes that affect parkin accumulation on damaged mitochondria (a process with relevance to Parkinson’s disease). The presenters will discuss this study to highlight considerations for running large-scale RNAi screens, ranging from the basic concepts and experimental setup to computational and experimental approaches used to overcome the prevalence of off-target effects. They will also provide guidance on approaches to simplify the workflow from RNAi-based screening to validation.

Meet the Presenters


Dr. Scott Martin

Scott Martin is the Team Leader for RNAi Screening at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). His facility performs numerous genome-wide RNAi screens in collaboration with NIH intramural investigators. These studies span a wide variety of research areas, ranging from cancer to infectious and rare diseases. Dr. Martin is interested not only in discoveries made through RNAi screening but also in advancing its successful application. Prior to establishing the RNAi Screening Facility at the NIH, Dr. Martin obtained his PhD in chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University in 2004. While there, his studies focused on engineering small molecules for the targeted delivery of bioactive cargo to the surface of cancer cells. After obtaining his PhD, Dr. Martin pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda to further his understanding of cancer biology. At the NCI, Dr. Martin’s work focused on understanding RNAi in mammalian cells and using RNAi as a tool to uncover genes associated with cancer and the activity of therapeutic agents.


Dr. Eugen Buehler

Gene Buehler at the NIH develops methods for analyzing high-throughput RNAi screening data. Much of his research centers around RNAi off-target effects: how to avoid them (or whether they can be avoided), how to detect them (in both large screens and bench-level experiments), and finally how to exploit them to identify real underlying pathway members. Dr. Buehler earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from North Carolina State University and his PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania.

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