Scott M. Hammond, Ph.D.

Hammond
hammond@med.unc.edu

Lab Personnel

Assistant Professor

  • B.S., San Jose State University, 1994
  • Ph.D., SUNY - Stony Brook, 1999

Funding Sources

  • NIH

Research Interests

Fifty years ago, the “Central Dogma” of molecular biology was outlined, describing the flow of genetic information from DNA to RNA to protein. In this model, RNA acts as an intermediate, important only for the generation of a protein. Work in the last decade has demonstrated that this unidirectional model is over-simplified. A multitude of non-coding regulatory RNAs have been uncovered. Perhaps the best example is the microRNA. These small RNAs have been identified in most metazoan genomes, and provide a novel layer of regulation of gene expression. My lab is interested in understanding the role of microRNAs, other non-coding RNAs, and their associated RNA binding proteins, in mammalian biology. Our current projects include:

 

1.  The role of microRNAs in differentiation and disease.

Over 800 microRNA genes have been identified in the numan genome. Using expression profiling technology that my lab developed, we identified microRNAs that exhibit dynamic expression changes during embryonic development and in numerous cancers. We are currently studying the role these microRNAs play in differentiation pathways and in self-renewal.

 

2.  The regulatory events that control microRNA production.

MicroRNA expression can be controlled at transcription, at several points in the multi-step biogenesis of the mature microRNA, and at turnover of the mature microRNA. We have uncovered several of these key regulatory events for the Let-7 family of microRNAs. Our current work is focused on expanding our knowledge of these regulatory events to other microRNA families.

 

3.  Novel non-coding RNA/protein interactions.

MicroRNAs are the most studied regulatory RNA; however, recent work has uncovered vast numbers of novel regulatory RNAs. We are currently developing genomic and proteomic tools to discover and characterize these novel RNAs and their protein partners.

Selected Publications

  • Newman M.A., Hammond S.M. Emerging paradigms of regulated microRNA processing.
    Genes Dev. 24(11):1086-92 (2010).
  • Newman, M.A., Thomson, J.M., Hammond, S.M. Lin-28 interaction with the Let-7
    precursor loop mediates regulated microRNA processing. RNA 14(8):1539-49 (2008).
  • Thomson, J.M., Newman, M., Parker, J.S., Morin-Kensicki, E.M., Wright, T., Hammond,
    S.M. Extensive post-transcriptional regulation of microRNAs and its implications for
    cancer. Genes Dev, 20, 2202-2207 (2006).
  • Hammond, S.M. MicroRNAs as oncogenes. Curr Opin Genet Dev, 16, 4-9 (2006).
  • He, L., Thomson, J.M., Hemann, M.T., Hernando-Monge, E., Mu, D., Goodson, S., Powers, S., Cordon-Cardo, C., Lowe, S.W., Hannon, G.J., Hammond, S.M. A microRNA polycistron as a potential human oncogene. Nature, 435, 828-833 (2005).
  • Thomson, J.M., Parker, J., Perou, C.M., Hammond, S.M. A custom microarray platform for analysis of microRNA gene expression, Nat. Methods, 1, 47-53 (2004).