Yearly updates: August 2020

Another year’s worth of updates (August 2019 through August 2020)!

Keeping up with the lab webpage is still a lower priority than keeping up with the actual lab…..  For reference, we successfully navigated the campus-wide research “pause” due to COVID-19, and are now back to full capacity with strong social-distancing measures.


Very excited about Dr. Abou Assi’s new paper on how 2’-O-methylation alters the RNA secondary structural ensemble, in collaboration with the Al-Hashimi Lab. bioRxiv; 2020 May.

Check out Dr. Holley’s contribution to the new AHA Scientific Statement on Non-coding RNAs in Cardiovascular Disease: Current knowledge, tools and technologies for investigation, and future directions in Circulation Genomics and Precision Medicine.

See our Publications page for more updates.

Lab Members

Congratulations to Dr. Hsiang-Ting Ho, who has taken a job in Research Triangle Park at Icagen! (August 2020)

Lauren Truby, MD is a cardiology fellow working with Dr. Holley and Dr. Svati Shah on translational projects regarding HLA sensitization, primary graft dysfunction, and antibody-mediated rejection in heart transplantation.

Myra Cai is a Duke undergraduate who joined the lab just in time for COVID-19 to ruin her planned summer research!  We will await her return after a Fall Semester of distance learning.

Congratulations to Dr. Holley, who won the 2020 Cardiology Fellowship Mentoring Award.

New Grants and Awards

NIH F32 GM136155 (PI: Abou Assi): Structural and dynamics studies of post-transcriptionally modified snRNAs

NIH R01 GM135383 (PI: Holley): SnoRNA-Guided Modifications of Messenger RNA

2020 Mandel Seed Grant (Co-PI: Freedman and Holley): Atherogenic Mechanisms of Small Nucleolar RNAs

2020 Core Voucher (PI: Holley): Role of snoRNA-guided mRNA modifications in myocardial infarction (congratulations Yinzhou!)

Increasing the Diagnostic Accuracy of Antibody Mediated Rejection (AMR) in Cardiac Transplantation Patients (Sponsor: CareDx; PI: Holley, Co-PI: Glass): This study will test whether a new histologic “double stain”, in combination with cell-free DNA and DSA testing, will significantly increase sensitivity and specificity for the clinical diagnosis of AMR.


Dr. Holley served as a meeting organizer and speaker for the 2019 NC Symposium on RNA Biology XIII, hosted by Duke University.

Drs. Abou Assi and Holley both gave oral presentations at the 2020 Keystone Symposium on Noncoding RNAs: Mechanism, Function and Therapies. Whistler, BC, Canada.

Dr. Abou Assi presented her research to the NC RNA Society in February 2020.

Dr. Ho gave a virtual poster presentation for the 2020 AHA BCVS conference.

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