Jimena Giudice, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Cell Biology & Physiology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
6340B Medical Biomolecular Research Building
111 Mason Farm Rd
City, State, Zip
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
(919) 962-6260
Research Field
Molecular Biology; Developmental Biology
Award Year
Country Of Origin
Mentor Name
Dr. Thomas A. Cooper


Alternative splicing (AS) explains how a relatively limited number of genes gives rise to a vast proteomic complexity in higher eukaryotes. It was demonstrated that AS plays a key role during differentiation and development. During postnatal heart development many physiological changes are associated with dynamic regulation of gene expression. The fetal heart adapts to birth and converts to adult function through transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms, including coordinated AS regulatory networks. The human heart is composed of cardiomyocytes (CM) (<20%), cardiac fibroblasts (CF) (~66%) and surface epithelium and vascular cells. Communication between CF and CM should be present early in heart development, but few investigations have addressed this issue in vivo. We are studying splicing regulation during heart development specifically in CM and CF. Our focus is on events directly regulated by RNA binding proteins, which coordinate splicing networks, through a 10-fold down regulation within the first two weeks after birth. The network will be identified using genome wide analyses of RNA-Seq to identify AS transitions and UV-crosslinking and immunoprecipitation to identify CELF target RNAs in vivo. RNA-Seq will be used to identify splicing transitions separately in CM and CF during postnatal mouse heart development. Our goal is to determine how alternative splicing is initiated and controlled in the early development of the heart — work that will lead to an improved understanding of cardiac development.