The Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology

Our laboratory studies the paraneoplastic neurologic disorders (PNDs), a set of neurodegenerative disorders that arise in the setting of cancer and are believed to be immune mediated. This work led to the discovery that several PND target antigens are neuronal RNA binding proteins. We have developed some basic insights into how RNA is regulated, in part through development of a technique, HITS-CLIP, that can be used to generate maps of RNA-protein interactions in living tissues. The lab is interested in trying to understand of how RNA regulation goes awry in human brain disease and cancer.

PND patients harbor immune responses targeted to specific tumor and neuronal antigens that have been cloned, such as the HuD neuronal RNA binding protein. We are interested in linking our basic understanding of the target antigens to immunologic insights into both tumor immunity and autoimmunity.

Dr. Darnell is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.