Welcome to CienciaPR, an expert and resource network for all who are interested in science and Puerto Rico.
I completed my undergraduate studies in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez where I worked in the research laboratory of Dr. Carlos Rios Velzquez. I completed my Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I completed my dissertation entitled: "Discovering unexpected connections and developing tools to define the CTD code of Pol II." in the laboratory of Dr. Aseem Z. Ansari. I am currently a postdoctoral research scientist at the MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Biology where I am focusing on understanding how 3' end RNA processing is regulated and coupled to transcription.
In general I am interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression by combining genomics, chemical-genetics, structural biology and biochemistry. I have experience in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, and developing and writing successfully funded NSF and NIH grants. I have served as teaching assistant for basic and advanced courses in eukaryotic molecular biology and biochemistry, and I have volunteered as a high school science fair judge and as coordinator for citizen scientist projects.
I am happy to help develop new or established projects, and provide feedback on manuscripts, grant applications or simply brainstorm ideas. I am particularly apt at problem solving through the systematic dissection of critical variables, making new connections, designing experiments and identifying new and exciting directions for future research.
I am currently interested in understanding the molecular underpinnings of eukaryotic gene expression at the level of transcription, chromatin states and nuclear dynamics. I have extensive experience in molecular biology, genomics (next generation sequencing and DNA microarrays), chemical-genetics and biochemistry.
My research has focused on the role of RNA Pol II CTD kinases in regulating transcriptional networks in yeast. The CTD code hypothesis argues that specific combinations of covalent modifications on the RNA Pol II CTD regulate transcription, chromatin modification and remodeling and RNA biogenesis. Understanding the underlying molecular events that regulate global transcription, or transcription of a subset of genes may elucidate new targets to fight cancer or control cell differentiation.
Engineered Covalent Inactivation of TFIIH-Kinase Reveals an Elongation Checkpoint and Results in Widespread mRNA Stabilization. Rodríguez-Molina JB, Tseng SC, Simonett SP, Taunton J, Ansari AZ. Mol Cell. 2016 Aug 4;63(3):433-44.
Emerging Views on the CTD Code. Zhang DW, Rodríguez-Molina JB, Tietjen JR, Nemec CM, Ansari AZ. Genet Res Int. 2012;2012:347214.
Interactions of Sen1, Nrd1, and Nab3 with multiple phosphorylated forms of the Rpb1 C-terminal domain in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Chinchilla K, Rodriguez-Molina JB, Ursic D, Finkel JS, Ansari AZ, Culbertson MR. Eukaryot Cell. 2012 Apr;11(4):417-29.
Ssu72 phosphatase-dependent erasure of phospho-Ser7 marks on the RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain is essential for viability and transcription termination. Zhang DW, Mosley AL, Ramisetty SR, Rodríguez-Molina JB, Washburn MP, Ansari AZ. J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 9;287(11):8541-51.
Chemical-genomic dissection of the CTD code. Tietjen JR, Zhang DW, Rodríguez-Molina JB, White BE, Akhtar MS, Heidemann M, Li X, Chapman RD, Shokat K, Keles S, Eick D, Ansari AZ. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Sep;17(9):1154-61.
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