A recent press release from joint research teams at the University of Kentucky in the United States and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel touts their accomplishment in winning a highly-regarded award from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) for a new program focused on transformative science. The joint effort also netted the researchers at both campuses a tidy $300,000 cash award.

The Binational Science Foundation literature defines the field of transformative science as “research driven by ideas that have potential to radically change our understanding of an important scientific concept, or lead to the creation of a new paradigm, or a new field of science. Such research is also characterized by its challenge to current understanding or by its pathways to new frontiers.” The collaborative team effort resulted in a new research proposal titled “Regulation of alternative splicing by small non-coding RNAs.” The research was aimed at better understanding of how organisms regulate the readout of their genomic information. Science has yet to discover exactly how the genetic information stored inside DNA allows the formation of living organisms. The new research could change current scientific theory that gene expression is driven by regulatory proteins, and the work could open new insights into the role of non-coding RNAs in nuclear gene regulation.

This work by researchers at the University of Kentucky and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem could help to explain how the information contained within genomes are used to build a living organism. The exciting new window into genomes might allow research scientists to design completely new treatments in the fight against many human diseases and continued investigation could lead to a whole new understanding of molecular biology. The joint project was officially submitted to the BSF by the groups under the direction of Prof. Ruth Sperling at the Hebrew University and Prof. Stefan Stamm at the University of Kentucky and comprises one of just two programs awarded in the first round of the US-Israel BSF Transformative Science award.

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