Dr Crispin Miller
Dr Crispin Miller, from Cancer Research UK’s Manchester Institute, is combining both lab work and computer science to study how a cell’s genetic ‘recipe book’ is altered in cancer.
Genes are the basic blueprints for our cells and they’re ‘switched on’ to make the instructions cells need to make new proteins. But some ‘silent’ genes get switched on and never made into a protein – these molecules are called ‘non-coding RNAs’.
For a long time the function of these molecules remained a mystery. But researchers discovered that some ‘non-coding RNAs’ control how other proteins are made. And changes in levels of certain proteins could play an important role in cancer.
Dr Miller and his team are using an approach of high-tech computers with biology to investigate which ‘non-coding RNAs’ are involved in switching key genes on or off in cancer. Finding out how these silent genes work could help scientists develop new ways to attack cancer.