microRNAs are conserved, small non-coding RNAs that control cell development, cell differentiation and disease pathogenesis. There is significant current interest in the utility of circulating microRNAs as disease biomarkers. We have identified a number of microRNAs with altered expression in chronic liver disease which we believe suggests they play a role in regulating liver disease development. Specifically, these microRNAs appear to regulate multiple aspects of the collagen synthetic pathway that drives fibrosis (scarring) of the liver and cirrhosis. This project will identify the specific pathways and mechanisms that are controlled by these microRNAs with the ultimate aim of developing therapeutic agents to target collagen synthesis and treat liver fibrosis in chronic liver diseases of both adults and children.
- PhD project