NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NCI’s Wolin Gives WALS Talk, June 26

Dr. Sandra Wolin
Dr. Sandra Wolin

NCI senior investigator Dr. Sandra Wolin, chief of the RNA Biology Laboratory (in Frederick), will deliver the annual NIH Director’s Lecture (third of three) on “Autoantigens and Autoimmunity: A Bedside to Bench and Back Again Story,” on Wednesday, June 26 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.

Wolin’s research examines how noncoding RNAs function, how cells recognize and degrade defective RNAs and how failure to degrade these RNAs affects cell function and contributes to human disease. A major focus of her laboratory is on an abundant class of ribonucleoproteins (RNPs), called Ro60 RNPs, which are widespread in animal cells and also present in some bacteria. 

Ro60 RNPs were discovered because the major protein, the Ro 60 kDa autoantigen (Ro60), is a clinically important target of autoantibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Wolin’s lab discovered that Ro60 is ring-shaped and binds misfolded noncoding RNAs. They also showed that noncoding RNAs called Y RNAs tether Ro60 to other proteins and regulate its activity. They discovered that a bacterial Ro60 and a ring-shaped nuclease form a previously unknown RNA degradation machine. 

Recently, their discovery of Ro60-containing bacteria resulted in a new hypothesis for how the autoantibodies that are hallmarks of diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus originate. 

Wolin received her A.B. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University, her M.D. from Yale School of Medicine and her Ph.D. from the department of biochemistry and biophysics at Yale. Prior to coming to NIH in 2017, she was director of the Yale Center for RNA Science and Medicine, and before that she was a tenured professor at Yale, in the department of cell biology and molecular biophysics and biochemistry. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology.

The lecture is part of the NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. To watch online, visit Registration is not required; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals who need reasonable accommodation to participate should email or call (301) 594-6747 or the Federal Relay, 800-877-8339.

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