Congratulations to our second travel grant winner! Read on to find out how he uses NextBio Research to explore oncogenic microRNAs.In Malay’s words:
I become truly amazed when I look back on my career and see how a student with undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Electronics turned into a biology researcher. In the very first week of graduate school, I received an article on microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of short non-coding regulators of protein-coding genes, from my supervisor. Ever since that first read, I have been hooked on these endogeneous RNAs for four years and counting.
My primary focus of research covers the identification of oncogenic miRNAs. Present cancer research mainly focuses at the molecular level on the regulation of genes for studying cancer pathways. However, recent investigations highlight that there is a significant association of miRNAs in the progression of different types of cancer. We focus on exploring the involvement of miRNAs in some tumor-based and non-tumorous cancers. The Disease Atlas feature of NextBio helps me to validate the results of my analysis.
In an earlier study, we identified with in silico approaches that two miRNAs, hsa-miR-186 and hsa-miR-154, are oncogenic for leukemia and prostate. There were no earlier databases validating this hypothesis. NextBio with its large base of curated information provides more robust support. NextBio Research seems to integrate various information and crosslink them. This is why information about a gene can be obtained at diverse levels.
The Disease Atlas reveals the association of hsa-miR-186 with lymphoid leukemias along with several other significant cancer types. The hsa-miR-154 is also found to be related to prostate cancer from NextBio repository. In addition to diseases, the Atlas also reports about various other traits and conditions. Queries can also be created at the SNP level, which is likely to be very important in identifying somatic mutations. It is really a strong support for disease analysis.
Statistics is a significant tool for modern research. No research outcome is persuasive unless it is statistically significant. Most of the existing analytical tools provide results without any statistical validity. NextBio provides the results in Disease Atlas together with p-values, fold changes, copy number changes and z-scores. The ranking by statistical significance make the results very practical to researchers. It strengthens the results and makes it more justifiable. These features are unique toward various applications.
As I work on human miRNAs, the genome browser facility of NextBio also helps me to look at potential targets and analyze CpG islands in binding sites. It is just as good as other genome browsers but with a cool interface. The same goes for the Literature app. It provides a unique platform through its registered account where you have your own Inbox and can put together your data, do meta-analysis, create collaborations and much more. As a whole, NextBio is helping my research almost like an extra pair of hands. My sincere gratitude to NextBio!SHARE