Role of long noncoding RNAs in neurological disorders

Project Details

Thousands of regions in our DNA have been linked to a multitude of traits and diseases. However, many of these regions don't contain any known protein coding genes, though most of these "empty" regions do express long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). This raises the possibility that some of these lncRNAs play a role in disease risk and other human traits.

What role do lncRNAs play in conferring risk for, or protection to, human neurological disorders? To answer this we use extremely sensitive techniques such as RNA CaptureSeq to characterise lncRNAs in human brain and stem-cell derived neurons and follow up studies to investigate lncRNA functions.

This approach has the potential to determine the underlying mechanisms that link genomic regions to human brain disorders and the function and impact of lncRNAs on human disease.


Prof Paul Harrison, University of Oxford, UK
A/Prof Liz Tunbridge, University of Oxford, UK
Dr Zameel Cader, University of Oxford, UK
Dr Wilfried Haerty, Earlham Institute, UK

Research Publications

Bartonicek N, Clark MB, Quek XC, Torpy JR, Pritchard AL, Maag JLV, Gloss BS, Crawford J, Taft RJ, Hayward NK, Montgomery GW, Mattick JS, Mercer TR, Dinger ME. (2017) Intergenic disease-associated regions are abundant in novel transcripts. Genome Biol 18(1): 241.

Clark MB*, Mercer TR*, Bussotti G, Leonardi T, Haynes KR, Crawford J, Brunck ME, LĂȘ Cao K, Thomas GP, Chen WY, Taft RJ, Nielsen LK, Enright AJ, Mattick JS, Dinger ME (2015). Quantitative gene profiling of long-noncoding RNAs with targeted RNA sequencing. Nature Methods. 12(4):339-342. (* Joint first authors).

Research Group

Clark laboratory: Transcriptomics and Neurogenetics

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Systems Biology, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

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