Susan works in Dr Yiliang Ding’s group where she primarily uses cell biology to investigate the role of RNA structure in gene transcription, splicing and degradation.
During her PhD in Professor Dame Caroline Dean’s group, Susan worked with Dr Stefanie Rosa to develop the first method to enable imaging and quantitative analysis of single RNA molecules in Arabidopsis root cells (single molecule RNA FISH – smFISH).
Among other insights, this method revealed that mutually exclusive sense-antisense transcription of the floral repressor FLC occurs during environmentally induced gene repression.
After completing her PhD, Susan worked as a postdoctoral scientist for Dr Veronica Grieneisen where she used RNA imaging to validate mathematical model predictions of rapid regulation for the boron transporter gene NIP5;1.
Susan then went on to adapt smFISH to enable analysis of homeologous wheat gene expression when she worked in Professor Anthony Hall’s lab at the Earlham Institute. Her images were consistent with the existence of genome territories within hexaploid wheat nuclei that had been predicted by HiC.
After completing a travel fellowship in Professor Philip Benfey’s lab at Duke University, Susan has now returned to John Innes to work as part of Dr Yiliang Ding’s Group. Here, she will continue the research she started at Duke into the subcellular localization of SHORTROOT RNA during root development and more broadly investigate the impact of RNA structure on gene regulation.
Zhang Y., Yang M., Duncan S., Yang X., Abdelhamid M. A. S., Huang L., Zhang H., Benfey P. N., Waller Z. A. E., Ding Y. (2019)G-quadruplex structures trigger RNA phase separation.Nucleic acids researchPublisher's version: 0305-1048
Duncan S., Rosa S. (2017)Gaining insight into plant gene transcription using smFISH.TranscriptionPublisher's version: 2154-1272
Duncan S., Olsson T., Hartley M., Dean C., Rosa S. (2016)A method for detecting single mRNA molecules in Arabidopsis thalianaPlant Methods (12)Publisher's version: 1746-4811