My lab is interested in the role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the development of cancer. Traditionally, RNA has been understood as a nucleic acid that dictates which proteins a cell will make. LncRNAs, however, have long been considered “junk” since they do not code for proteins and their function was unknown. LncRNAs have now emerged to have many cellular roles with relevance to diseases such as cancer, including effects on gene expression. I will study a particular set of lncRNAs directly regulated by p53, a protein that is critical in suppressing tumor formation. Using advanced genomic approaches and state-of-the-art molecular biology tools, we will determine if the levels of p53-regulated lncRNAs change under different pathological states, and if their presence can influence tumor formation in a mouse model of lung cancer. Following these efforts, we hope to uncover how lncRNAs act within the cell—more specifically, whether they exert effects on neighboring genes or on distantly located genes. Together, findings from this work could reveal fresh insight on lncRNAs in cancer biology and provide a foundation for improved treatment options for a variety of cancers.