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Benjamin J. (Ben) Blencowe, PhD
Banbury Chair in Medical Research

The Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
Department of Molecular Genetics

Where I Am From: London, England

Where I Studied:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Research Fellow at the Center for
Cancer Research, 1992 to 1998

University of London, U.K. and EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany
PhD in Biochemistry, 1991

Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine,
University of London, U.K.
BSc (hons) in Microbiology, 1988


My Story:

My lab studies the mechanisms by which genes are regulated and coordinated to provide critical functions in mammalian cells. Our work primarily focuses on a step in gene expression called RNA splicing. This step is required for the expression of essentially all human genes. Moreover, alternative splicing decisions allow cells to greatly expand the repertoire of structurally and functionally distinct transcripts and proteins from a limited number of genes. Recent work from our lab and others has shown that this diversification process establishes complex functional networks in organs such as the brain. We are using a broad range of approaches, from focused biochemical studies to microarray, high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic analyses, to understand the function and regulation of networks of protein variants generated by alternative splicing.

Our work is also uncovering aberrant alternative splicing patterns in human diseases, including premature aging, neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers. This work is expected to generate valuable biomarkers in the short term, and to possible new therapeutic strategies in the long term.

For more information on my work, please visit my homepage: http://sites.utoronto.ca/intron/ or e-mail me at b.blencowe@utoronto.ca



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