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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine have discovered that fluoroquinolone antibiotics can make RNAi more effective in the laboratory and reduce potential side effects. The most powerful enhancer of RNAi was enoxacin, which has been used to treat gonorrhea and urinary tract infections. This group of compounds also includes the widely used antibiotic ciprofloxacin. The antibiotics' effect on RNAi appears to be chemically separate from their bacteria-killing activities.

During this week's GEN podcast, Dr. Jin talks about the role of RNAi as a research tool and its potential to treat a variety of diseases. He describes the experiments that led to the team's conclusions about antibiotics and RNAi and discusses the reasons why fluroquinolones are such effective therapeutics. He also reveals what makes enoxacin so useful in relation to RNAi.

Dr. Jin notes that significant barriers still prevent RNAi from working well in people and provides details on the research efforts aimed at overcoming these barriers.
Dr. Peng Jin studies the roles of non-coding RNAs, which have been increasingly recognized within the last several years, particularly with the identification of new classes of small RNAS such as microRNAs (miRNAs). His goal is to understand the role of these noncoding RNAs in neural development and brain disorders. Jin and his colleagues recently discovered a way to improve the gene-silencing technique of RNA interference (RNAi) by using the class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. (Nature Biotechnology, August 2008). Last year Jin and his colleagues discovered a key protein in the toxic brain pathway that leads to fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), an inherited neurodegenerative disorder. The finding in a Drosophila fly model could help unravel the complex mechanisms of FXTAS and lead to therapies that target the protein (Neuron, August 16, 2007). In 2005 Jin was among 24 scientists nationally to receive a Beckman Young Investigator Award for promising young faculty members. In 2006 he was selected as a Sloan Fellow, representing national faculty who show the most outstanding promise of making fundamental contributions to new knowledge. The major focus areas of his laboratory are non-coding RNAs in neural development and brain disorders; RNA-mediated neurodegeneration; molecular basis of mental retardation; and epigenetic regulation of brain development. Dr. Jin received his PhD in molecular and developmental biology in 1999 from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children¹s Hospital Research Foundation, Ohio. In 1994, he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China.

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