piRNA biology and germline genome stability
In 2008, the Miska lab identified the piRNAs of Caenorhabditis elegans and demonstrated that Piwi proteins and piRNAs are important for germline development and fertility in the nematode. Subsequently, we identified the targets of piRNAs and shed light on the molecular mechanism of target silencing. In addition, we have been investigating how piRNAs are generated in the germline, how the piRNA pathway responds to foreign DNA/RNA and how the pathway is evolving.
Making use of our expertise in small RNAs in C. elegans, we are now focussing our research on elucidating the biological and molecular functions of piRNAs in vertebrates, especially in mammals.