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Ruaidhri Jackson, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Bio:

Ruaidhri Jackson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology at Harvard Medical School. He received his Ph.D. in immunology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where he studied the role of the Pellino family of E3 Ubiquitin ligases in innate immunity under the mentorship of Prof. Paul Moynagh. After graduating, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Richard A. Flavell at Yale University for his post-doctoral fellowship where he studied innate and mucosal immunity. Using reverse genetics, transcriptomics and animal models of intestinal pathology, he elucidated the complex role of IL-18 in mediating both host protection and driving auto-inflammatory disease. Dr. Jackson also discovered a novel mechanism of innate immune cell activation at the mucosa whereby cells utilize mechanosensation to sense their local environment to instigate an inflammatory response. In addition, he also uncovered widespread translation of previously unknown open reading frames during innate immune responses and characterized the functional role of a novel protein encoded by a misannotated long “non-coding” RNA. This work demonstrated a major misinterpretation of the protein coding genome and highlighted the need for a reevaluation of translation during the immune response. Now at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Jackson’s lab continues to explore novel open reading frame translation in overlooked areas of the genome. A major focus of the Jackson lab is to understand how inflammatory signals converge to regulate RNA translation and to identify new mechanisms of translational control during homeostasis, inflammation, and disease.