Spring 2014 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University

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MICHELLE L. HASTINGS, PH.D.

Marquette University, Ph.D. 1998

Dr. Michelle HastingsDr. Michelle Hastings received her doctorate from the Department of Biological Sciences in 1998. She studied pre-mRNA splicing and antisense RNA regulation of thyroid hormone receptor gene expression in Dr. Stephen Munroe’s lab. Michelle’s work investigated the regulation of a complex gene expression system that involved alternative pre-mRNA splicing and polyadenylation and how these processes are regulated by an overlapping antisense gene. During the summer of her last year in graduate school, Michelle attended the Gene Expression course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories (CSHL). After having an intense and incredible research experience, she decided to continue her research on RNA. The following summer, she accepted a post-doctoral fellowship position in Dr. Adrian Krainer’s group at CSHL and moved to Long Island, NY.

Michelle continued her research in RNA splicing in Dr. Krainer’s lab with a greater focus on splicing mechanisms and protein biochemistry. She also became interested in diseases caused by defects in splicing along with investigating approaches to develop therapeutics based on manipulating RNA processing reactions. Michelle was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society for her work on RNA splicing in cancer. In 2006, Michelle was promoted to Research Associate and was awarded her first research grant to develop a small molecule therapeutic for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), pediatric neurodegenerative disorder.

While at CSHL, Michelle married Dominik Duelli, an MU Ph.D. graduate from Dr. Dale Noel’s lab, who also came to CSHL as a post-doctoral fellow. Michelle and Dominik had two children, Lorelei and Fox, while in New York. Shortly after Fox was born they decided it was time to settle-down and get “real” jobs and began the challenging search for two faculty positions in the same geographic location. They were fortunate enough to find ideal jobs just down the road from their former alma mater.

In 2007, Michelle began her position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago, IL. Michelle quickly established a research lab focused on RNA biology and the developing RNA-based therapeutics for disease. She has been awarded an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study disease mechanism and small molecule therapies for spinal muscular atrophy. She has been awarded a number of grants including an additional NIH R01 to develop antisense oligonucleotide therapeutics for Usher syndrome and congenital deafness and retinitis pigmentosa. Michelle attributes her interest and success in antisense RNAs, in part, to her early studies as a graduate student in Dr. Munroe’s lab studying naturally occurring antisense RNA.

Michelle was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013 and looks forward to expanding her research program and contributing more to training and education of young scientists and medical students. She is thrilled to be back in the Midwest and takes advantage of the outdoor activities here by camping, biking and generally enjoying the outdoors with her family.

 

 


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