University of California Riverside Opens RNA Biology and Technology Center

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


May 17, 2022


UCR Opens up an RNA Biology and Technology Center

Utilize Our Platform

Recognizing the importance of RNA in modern biology and biomedicine, the University of California Riverside will establish the Center for RNA Biology and Medicine, which now houses more than 30 researchers from across campus. The center’s director is Sika Zheng, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the School of Medicine.ย 

All living cells contain ribonucleic acid or RNA. It is, nonetheless, critical for fundamental cell biology, including coding, decoding, regulating, and expressing genes and identifying human illness. In addition, RNA is used by the body to build cells, respond to immunological threats, and transfer amino acids between cells.

We Covered this in our Weekly Wire Roundup

Q & A Session With Prof. Sika Zheng

Following is a Q&A with Professor Zheng:

Q1. Why did you decide to start this center, and why did you choose to specialize in RNA?

Ans: In modern biology and medicine, RNA biology has become one of the most prominent fields. Cutting-edge developments in RNA biology and technology are pushing medicine and our knowledge of nature to new heights. For example, CRISPR can change the genome and fix disease-causing mutations. We’ve seen the potency of mRNA vaccines, a novel vaccine technology, in treating SARS-CoV-2 viral infection over the last two years. However, they are most likely merely the tip of the iceberg of RNA’s revolutionary potential. Several properties enhance RNA’s transforming capacity. Several properties enhance RNA’s transforming capacity.ย 

First, the primary link between genotypes and phenotypes, RNA is an obvious target for biological alteration. 

Second, because RNA is so ubiquitous, any breakthrough use will spread across the board, having a far-reaching influence. 

Third, RNA comprises only four simple nucleotides, making it challenging to decode in biology but much easier to write and read from an experimental and engineering standpoint. 

Once we decode the RNA codes and utilize RNA-based techniques, RNA has nearly limitless potential to alter health and society.

Q2. Why is this a good time for UCR to open this center?

Ans: The Center for RNA Biology and Medicine fosters a lively, dynamic research environment that capitalizes on UCR’s deep and unique RNA research capabilities while bridging the gap between scientific discovery and medical and industrial applications. We might easily fall into our silo because each lab’s RNA study at UCR is diverse. When we bring individuals together, though, the difference becomes a strength. By linking and supporting teams of researchers from various fields within RNA, spanning several UCR departments, I hope the center to be the platform and focal point for nucleating researchers, stimulating partnerships, forming synergies, and facilitating interdisciplinary connections. And, if it hasn’t been done before, the ideal moment to do something nice is now.

Q3. What distinguishes this center from similar facilities elsewhere?

Ans: There are multiple RNA centers around the country, each with unique strengths and successes. Our center is brand new and has yet to chart its course. Our center investigators and trainees will make a difference. I view the center as a catalyst for our members’ success in addressing today’s and tomorrow’s RNA-centric industrial, biological, and therapeutic demands. I’m also establishing a new objective for the center: celebrating good research and the scientists who make it. Any other center has not specifically brought this about, but we will create the framework.

RNA is a single-stranded relative of double-stranded DNA that is less well recognized. The Center for RNA Biology is established to help researchers practice and experiment with new RNA-based demands. It is an all-in-one place for searching, experimenting, and addressing new terms in the field. 

UC Riverside Ranks Well

In the 2022-23 Center for World University Rankings, the University of California Riverside was rated in the top 1.3 percent of universities worldwide. The rankings were announced on Monday, April 25, 2022. The university was placed 249th out of 19,788 institutions. In addition, UCR was ranked 81st nationally.

The university is vital in fostering startup culture and commercialization of new technologies in the Inland Empire region. Based in Riverside, CA, SmartBot360, aย UCRย spin-off company & part ofย Riverside ExCITE, lets healthcare companies create, manage and share AI chatbots. Through its AI-chat bot technology specifically for the healthcare vertical, SmartBot360 wants to reduce mundane and manual tasks like answering FAQs, making appointments, collecting feedback, sending reminders, or making sale pitches.


Submit a Comment

Connecting you with the best startups, people & events in the Inland Empire.

Support Startup News & Media!

Enjoying the startup news & media? Support us!

We have big plans, and we need your help!

Startempire Wire is a community of people working together to promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in the Inland Empire. We provide resources and connect people with the startup culture.

We believe that the Inland Empire has all of the ingredients for success. This region just needs a platform to show the world what it can do – And this is exactly what is doing. Our goal is to act as a megaphone to connect the dots between the best startups, events, and people in the Inland Empire.

We have big plans, and we need your help! If you are passionate about creating a thriving local startup ecosystem, then we would like to invite you to join in contributing to the community by supporting us. You can do that by supporting us financially or by being an active contributor. In return, we will give you (depending on sponsorship level) free access to our content, other level based perks &ย  the opportunity to connect with a network of passionate people working to build a better future for all of us.

We cover the good and the bad of entrepreneurship, startups & business events; we do it with passion and purpose. If you like what we do, support us & please consider becoming a patron. Your support is essential for independent local startup media to survive & thrive.

You can make a regular one time donation to become a sponsor at any level, or you can choose to become a monthly or event sponsor.ย  Every little bit counts! Thank You

Verious B. Smith III

Founder, Startempire Wire

Related Articles

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022: A Paradigm Shift in US Semicon . . .

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022: A Paradigm Shift in US Semicon . . .

On August 9, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022," a groundbreaking legislation to reshape the United States' semiconductor industry and fortify its technological prowess. This act, formally known as the "Creating Helpful Incentives to...

DOE to Pump $126M in Small Businesses for R&D in Clean Energ . . .

DOE to Pump $126M in Small Businesses for R&D in Clean Energ . . .

To foster innovation in clean energy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will channel $126 million into research and development grants for 90 small businesses across 27 states. The project targets many mission areas, including clean energy, cybersecurity, fusion...

City of Riverside to Bring Ohmio’s Electric Autonomous Vehi . . .

City of Riverside to Bring Ohmio’s Electric Autonomous Vehi . . .

The City of Riverside, California, aims to become a hotspot for innovation by teaming up with Ohmio, an electric autonomous vehicle company from New Zealand. The plan is to have Ohmio set up its international headquarters and a cutting-edge manufacturing hub in...

Stay Up On Startempire News

Access Premium Content

Startempire Wire premium content access is free during the beta period of ourย  website.ย  Join during beta and get a grandfathered discount when we launch.

$5 for first month then $15 per month

Get Every Update

Would you like to receive Startempire Wire updates in your inbox? Subscribe below!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Follow Us

Follow Startempire Wire on other social media channels.

My cart
Your cart is empty.

Looks like you haven't made a choice yet.