Anna Zinovyeva, Associate Professor

Anna Zinovyeva

Contact information

28 Ackert Hall
(785) 532-7727 (office)
(785) 532-5117 (lab)

Lab website:


Ph.D. 2007, Indiana University. Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.

Area(s) of Specialization

Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, RNA biology, microRNA biogenesis and function.

Research Focus

Our laboratory works on understanding how a class of small noncoding RNAs called microRNAs regulates gene expression. microRNAs are predicted to post-transcriptionally regulate as much as 60% of the human genome, with each single microRNA molecule affecting expression of hundreds of genes. Mutations in microRNAs and their cofactors are frequently associated with many cancers. This is presumably due to dysregulation of downstream gene targets that make up the signaling pathways that, when disturbed, lead to development and progression of cancer. It is then not surprising that microRNAs have become of interest as both cancer therapeutic and diagnostic agents.

The goal of our research is to understand in great molecular detail how microRNA production and activity are regulated in the complex context of the cellular environment. The lab's current efforts are focused on identifying and characterizing factors that modulate microRNA biogenesis and/or function. We are also very interested in how the selection of a single dominant microRNA strand is regulated in vivo.

In the lab we make use of a great model organism—a small nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans has a strong history of being the model organism for small RNA research. The fact that many of the microRNAs are well conserved between C. elegans and humans means that what we learn in our model organism is directly relevant to human biology.

The ultimate motivation behind our research is to contribute to development of better microRNA-centered therapeutic and diagnostic tools.

Selected Publications

Zinovyeva AY, Veksler-Lublinsky I, Vashisht AA, Wohlschlegel JA, Ambros VR. 2015. Caenorhabditis elegans ALG-1 antimorphic mutations uncover functions for Argonaute in microRNA guide strand selection and passenger strand disposal. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 8. pii: 201506576. PMID: 26351692

Zinovyeva AY, Bouasker S, Simard MJ, Hammell CM, Ambros V. 2014. Mutations in conserved residues of the C. elegans microRNA Argonaute ALG-1 identify separable functions in ALG-1 miRISC loading and target repression. PLoS Genet. 10(4):e1004286. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004286. eCollection 2014 Apr.

Zou Y, Chiu H, Zinovyeva A, Ambros V, Chuang CF, Chang C. 2013. Developmental decline in neuronal regeneration by the progressive change of two intrinsic timers. Science. Apr 19;340(6130):372-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1231321.

View the complete publication list in NCBI