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Personal profile

Research interests

The Kiss RNA lab currently focuses on two main areas of research.  Namely, developing novel RNA Therapeutics to treat human disease and performing experiments to understand fundamental mechanisms in RNA molecular biology. 

RNA Therapeutics:

As we are housed inside the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI), the lab is committed to the translation of basic science discoveries to benefit human health. Shortly after the lab opened, we joined the HMRI’s RNA Therapeutics program and began working on our first therapeutic candidate, an RNA designed to counter genes driving oncogenic transformation and cell migration in certain breast cancers.  That work has earned Dr. Kiss a Career Development Award from The American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy.  https://www.asgct.org/research/news/october-2019/asgct-career-development-awards

COVID-19 updates:

We are applying our expertise and experience with designing and developing novel RNA therapeutics to the address the urgent need COVID-19 pandemic.  Our lab is providing all needed support as HMRI’s RNA Core develops an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/-/media/pdf/pr/covid/HM-COVID-19-Vaccine-Research-Press-Release-03172020.ashx

In addition to providing support for the vaccine effort mentioned above, we are developing three candidate RNAs designed to treat active COVID-19 disease.  These RNA therapeutic candidates are designed to slow the course of the infection by interfering with the virus's replication machinery.  This work is in its early stages as the required constructs and reagents have either just arrived or are scheduled to arrive by the middle of April. 

RNA molecular biology:

The basic science research interests of the lab lie in the changes that occur in the RNA and molecular biology of cells when cellular stress responses converge to cause or exacerbate cardiovascular disease or cancer. I am building a two-pronged collaborative group that leverages RNA molecular biology tools with both specialized and traditional RNA sequencing approaches combined with long-read sequencing to elucidate how these RNA-mediated changes occur. For cytoplasmic RNA recapping, my work aims to determine the regulators that determine the conditions under which, and position(s) where, an RNA is recapped in the cytoplasm. My lab uses both transcriptome-wide (microarrays, RNA-seq and ribosome profiling) and targeted methods (qPCR, polysome gradients, etc.) to understand how cytoplasmic capping drives oncogenic transformation and stress responses linked to cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, I aim to uncover the evolutionary role of cytoplasmic RNA recapping, and to decipher the mechanism(s) controlling the selection, generation, and regulation of recapping sites, and to develop cytoplasmic recapping-based drug responsiveness screens and/or RNA therapeutics. The other part of my lab focuses on how the FHIT tumor suppressor modulates the translation of the transcriptome in cancer. My work has shown that expression of the FHIT protein results in translational changes for several known cancer-linked mRNAs. Further, that translational regulation is often driven by the 5’ translation leader sequence of the mRNA. For my future FHIT research, I plan to build upon my recently published works by expanding ribosome profiling into FHIT negative patient tumor samples and by developing better cell lines where FHIT expression is more tightly regulated.

(updated 4-8-2020)

Education/Academic qualification

Molecular & Cellular Biology, PhD, Case Western Reserve University

Jul 2003May 2010

Award Date: May 16 2010

Biology, MS, Cleveland State University

Award Date: Aug 8 2003

Biology, BS, Cleveland State University

Award Date: Mar 20 1998

Research Area Keywords

  • Heart & Vascular
  • Cancer
  • Molecular Medicine

Free-text keywords

  • Cytoplasmic capping
  • FHIT
  • RNA biology
  • Ribosome profiling
  • stress response
  • Cancer research
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • translational control
  • next generation sequencing

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Projects

Research Output

  • 377 Citations
  • 10 h-Index
  • 15 Article
  • 1 Comment/debate
  • 1 Editorial

mRNA 5′ ends targeted by cytoplasmic recapping cluster at CAGE tags and select transcripts are alternatively spliced

Berger, M. R., Alvarado, R. & Kiss, D. L., Apr 2019, In : FEBS Letters. 593, 7, p. 670-679 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

  • Loss of fragile histidine triad (Fhit) protein expression alters the translation of cancer-associated mRNAs

    Kiss, D. L., Baez, W. D., Huebner, K., Bundschuh, R. & Schoenberg, D. R., Mar 14 2018, In : BMC Research Notes. 11, 1, 178.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 4 Scopus citations

    Identification of Fhit as a post-transcriptional effector of Thymidine Kinase 1 expression

    Kiss, D. L., Waters, C. E., Ouda, I. M., Saldivar, J. C., Karras, J. R., Amin, Z. A., Mahrous, S., Druck, T., Bundschuh, R. A., Schoenberg, D. R. & Huebner, K., Mar 1 2017, In : Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms. 1860, 3, p. 374-382 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 10 Scopus citations

    Impact of FHIT loss on the translation of cancer-associated mRNAs

    Kiss, D. L., Baez, W., Huebner, K., Bundschuh, R. & Schoenberg, D. R., Dec 28 2017, In : Molecular Cancer. 16, 1, 179.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 11 Scopus citations

    Cap homeostasis is independent of poly(A) tail length

    Kiss, D. L., Oman, K. M., Dougherty, J. A., Mukherjee, C., Bundschuh, R. & Schoenberg, D. R., Jan 8 2016, In : Nucleic Acids Research. 44, 1, p. 304-314 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 9 Scopus citations

    Prizes

    ASGCT Career Development Award

    Kiss, Daniel L. (Recipient), Oct 23 2019

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Cancer Genetics Training Grant (T32) -Award declined-

    Kiss, Daniel L. (Recipient), Sep 2012

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Oncology Fellowship

    Kiss, Daniel L. (Recipient), Jul 1 2012

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Pelotonia postdoctoral fellowship

    Kiss, Daniel L. (Recipient), Jul 1 2011

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Pelotonia Postdoctoral fellowship

    Kiss, Daniel L. (Recipient), Jul 1 2014

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively