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Application stories

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Population-level profiling of plasma microRNAs

Dr. Sabine Ameling, Tim Kacprowski, Dr. Georg Homuth, and Dr. Elke Hammer work at the University Medicine Greifswald (UMG) in the Department of Functional Genomics, which is led by Prof. Dr. Uwe Völker. In collaboration with other partners at the UMG, the team is analyzing plasma microRNA profiles as biomarkers for common diseases.

"We needed a method with high specificity and sensitivity. The Exiqon microRNA Panels using LNA™-modified RT-qPCR assays represented an attractive approach that fulfilled these criteria."

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Prof. Dipanjan Chowdhury

Serum microRNA biomarkers for early detection of ovarian cancer

Prof. Dipanjan Chowdhury is Associate Professor at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, part of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, United States. He is investigating the role of microRNAs in DNA repair. Over the years, his lab has used Exiqon's microRNA NGS and qPCR Services in several different projects.

"We send all the human samples to Exiqon, for the professionals to handle. We send the serum and Exiqon does everything."

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Dr. Boye Schnack Nielsen

Co-detection of microRNA and protein

Dr. Boye Schnack Nielsen works at the Molecular Histology Unit in Bioneer, a Center of Excellence for in situ hybridization using LNA™ probes. He has developed a double fluorescence assay combining LNA™ microRNA ISH and immunohistochemistry.

"LNA™ probes show consistent performance and high signal-to-noise for automated imaging."

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Non-invasive microRNA biomarkers for osteoporosis

Dr. Matthias Hackl and Dr. Johannes Grillari are co-founders of the company TAmiRNA, based in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Grillari leads the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Biotechnology of Skin Aging, Department of Biotechnology, BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria.

"LNA™-enhanced microRNA-specific primers are a key advantage of the Exiqon technology."

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Silencing the lncRNA Chast reverses cardiac disease

Prof. Thomas Thum and Dr. Janika Viereck work at the Institute of Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies, Hannover Medical School, Germany. They recently published a Science Translational Medicine paper on the lncRNA Chast and its involvement in cardiac remodelling.

"Antisense LNA™ GapmeRs target the lncRNA directly and allowed us to test the therapeutic potential of Chast silencing in animal models."

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Melanoma addiction to the long non-coding RNA SAMMSON

Prof. Jean-Christophe Marine and Dr. Eleonora Leucci work at the Laboratory for Molecular Cancer Biology, K.U. Leuven in Belgium. They recently published a Nature paper showing that melanoma cancer cells are addicted to the lncRNA SAMSSON.

“We have been particularly impressed by the efficiency of targeting using Antisense LNA™ GapmeRs In vivo and would recommend them for pre-clinical studies.”

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Whole transcriptome RNA-seq identifies novel mitochondria-aging pathway

Dr. Misa Hirose is a post-doctoral researcher in the Ibrahim lab at the Lübeck Institute for Experimental Dermatology in Germany. The main focus of her research is the role of the mitochondrial genome in ageing.

“Exiqon provides all the important aspects – price, service and excellent data quality.”

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NGS identifies therapeutic microRNA targets for skeletal disorders

Dr. Hanna Taipaleenmäki is a research scientist within the group of Prof. Dr. Dr. Eric Hesse, in the Molecular Skeletal Biology Laboratory at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany.

"Exiqon Services performed microRNA and mRNA sequencing from the exact same RNA samples....We have been combining the NGS results with functional studies using In vivo LNA™ microRNA inhibitors in mouse models."

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Silencing eRNA – towards novel therapeutics for heart disease

Dr. Jaya Krishnan is a group leader at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre and Imperial College London, UK.

"The hypertension protocol gave us the most exciting and elegant data in vivo....We used LNA™ GapmeRs is because it's fairly straightforward and we can use some of the established [in vivo] protocols."

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Long non-coding RNAs and Parkinson's Disease

Assoc. Prof. Antony Cooper is the divisional head of Neuroscience in the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Sydney, Australia). His lab's research focuses on the area of neurodegenerative disease, and specifically understanding the basis of Parkinson's Disease.

"LNA™ GapmeRs clearly gave us better results than the other approaches that we tried, and that is all that matters."

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Quantification of microRNA cancer biomarkers in serum/plasma using Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR)

Dr. Manuela Ferracin is a postdoc in Prof. Massimo Negrini's lab at the Department of Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine, University of Ferrara, in Italy. She has been using LNA™ PCR assays and Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) to quantify microRNA in serum/plasma samples.

"The amount of RNA that can be extracted from plasma and serum samples is low. In this context, it is of great importance to be able to quantify any desired microRNA using individual assays and ddPCR technology, without having to do a microRNA-specific reverse transcription. Therefore, a universal cDNA system, like that developed by Exiqon, paired with a specific LNA™-based assay made the Exiqon system very attractive".

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Identifying new prognostic markers and treatment approaches for thrombosis

Dr. Eugenia de la Morena-Barrio is a postdoc at the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain. Her group has been using LNA™ GapmeRs to silence two different cell lines which are involved in the risk of developing thrombosis, to identify new prognostic markers and developing new treatment approaches.

"I am really happy with the degree of silencing I have obtained with GapmeRs technology. The main benefit of Exiqon LNA™ GapmeRs is that you can obtain a very high silencing degree of your interest gene and that this silencing is quite reproducible in different cell lines."

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microRNAs in influenza

Louise Brogaard's work focuses on the innate immune system, the first line of defense against invading microorganisms. She and her colleagues at the Technical University of Denmark use RNA sequencing to identify microRNAs involved in the response to H1N2 influenza in pigs.

"Exiqon is very easy and professional to work with. I was continuously kept informed of the project progress and Exiqon provided excellent follow-up support upon data delivery. They offered a great deal of flexibility.... Exiqon delivers mapped and quantified results in a report that is comprehensible for anyone."

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Development of antisense therapy for cystic fibrosis

Dr. Magali Taulan is an associate professor at the University of Montpellier in France. Her lab has been using LNA™ antisense oligonucleotides that interfere with microRNAs to better understanding how expression of the gene (CFTR) is regulated. As a result, the study potentially identify new targets for treatment of CF.

"In our hands, in addition to high affinity, LNA™ antisense oligonucleotides display excellent activity upon simple addition to the cell culture – without the need for transfection reagents – which is great advantage when working with primary cell cultures."

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The role of long non-coding RNAs in the heart

Rudi Micheletti works at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Switzerland. He has been using Exiqon's LNA™ GapmeRs to identify and characterize long non-coding RNAs involved in the response of the heart to stress.

"GapmeR knock down was reproducible and specific to my target. The percentage of GapmeRs able to knock down the specific target was impressively high."

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mRNA silencing in vitro and in vivo using LNA™ GapmeRs

Anastasia Khvorova works at the RNA Therapeutics Institute at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her lab has been using LNA™ GapmeRs to silence two different genes which are valid therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases.

"Overall we obtained a very good hit rate – all but one of the LNA™ GapmeRs did knockdown the target mRNA and several of the LNA™ GapmeRs were extremely potent with IC50s of around 25 nM."

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Long non-coding RNAs in the cardiovascular system

Drs. Reinier Boon, Stefanie Dimmelerand and Katharina Michalik work at the Institute for Cardiovascular Regeneration at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. They are interested in microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) that control cardiovascular functions in endothelial cells.

"It is currently the best tool to knock down lncRNAs in vivo."

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microRNAs in pain

Dr. Kiran Kumar Bali is a postdoc in Prof. Rohini Kuner's lab at the University Clinic Heidelberg in Germany. He has been using microRNA inhibitors in vivo to study microRNAs involved in chronic pain.

"I recommend Exiqon's miRNA inhibitors mainly because of their specificity and less off-target effects. Customer friendly handling of orders and providing useful discussions with experienced scientists is another reason for my recommendation."

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microRNAs as disease biomarkers

Dr. Wojciech Fendler works in the Department of Pediatrics, Oncology, Hematology and Diabetology at the Medical University of Lodz, Poland. He is interested in the application of microRNAs as biomarkers in disease and has performed microRNA profiling using Exiqon Services.

"Excellent technical and scientific feedback allows researchers from different fields to incorporate miRNA experiments into their study protocols."

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microRNAs in pregnancy

Dr Karen Forbes and Mrs. Bernadette Baker work in the Centre for Women's Health, University of Manchester, St Mary's Hospital, UK where they study the molecular mechanism responsible for placental development and function. Read about their ongoing project investigating the expression and function of placental microRNAs.

"The universal RT has saved us a lot of time and money and greatly enhanced our productivity"

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microRNAs in soft tissue sarcoma

A better understanding of the biology of soft tissue sarcoma subtypes, especially regarding driver genes and microRNAs that are involved in the tumorigenic process, could not only be useful for sarcoma (subtype) classification, but could also aid the development of new targeted therapies. MicroRNA profiling and the functional characterization of microRNAs gave more insight into the role of microRNAs in the tumor biology of soft tissue sarcoma.

"The Exiqon LNA™ microRNA arrays enable profiling of many microRNAs in a large number of samples in a relatively short time span, with uncomplicated analyses, giving reliable and reproducible results".

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Inhibition of long noncoding RNAs using LNA™ longRNA GapmeR

Drs. Jean-Christophe Marine, Eleonora Leucci and Laura Standaert work at the Laboratory for Molecular Cancer Biology, K.U. Leuven in Belgium. They have been using LNA™ longRNA GapmeRs to silence non-coding RNAs linked to cancer.

"LNA™ gapmers allow efficient targeting of lncRNAs which can be difficult to target by other technologies such as siRNA/shRNA."

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Identifying microRNAs involved in asthma

We are investigating phenotypes of bronchial asthma. As a part of this study, we use a model of air-liquid cultures of fully differentiated human bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatics and controls. The cultures are studied for response to TH2 cytokines and rhinovirus infections on the level of gene expression and production of lipid mediators. We wondered if some of these responses could be orchestrated by microRNAs.
"It is beneficial to split a study into profiling and validation, and to benefit from the Exiqon services to conduct the experimental part that one does not have the possibility to do. We would therefore recommend this strategy to labs that are not equipped with microRNA array equipment or knowhow."

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Can microRNAs tell you how fit you are?

Our research focuses on identifying the key cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of physical exercise on the heart, arteries and skeletal muscle in the context of disease prevention and management through experimental, clinical and epidemiological studies. Identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with aerobic fitness is important, because it may help us develop new and better methods to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.

"It was essential to us that the RNA-isolation service was available and that we could get our results within a short time frame. Finally, it was important that the service provider had a good reputation."

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Solving the mystery of an unknown target gene using microRNA Target Site Blockers

Dr. Mattot studies the roles played by microRNAs in endothelial cells during physiological and pathological processes such as angiogenesis or endothelium activation. The fact that her microRNA of interest had a predicted target gene which was previously uncharacterized was a major challenge. However through the use of specific target site blockers, it was possible to demonstrate that this unknown gene was associated with the phenotype observed when the microRNA was inhibited in endothelial cells.

"Target Site Blockers are efficient tools to demonstrate the specific involvement of putative microRNA targets in the function played by this microRNA. The use of LNA™ allows the design of short oligonucleotides that are very specific and easy to work with."

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Determining the quality of biobank serum for microRNA analysis

Abcodia is engaged in the validation and discovery of biomarkers for the early detection and screening of disease and has exclusive commercial license to a large prospective serum biobank. They have recently completed a successful pilot study on microRNA detection which confirms the quality of the UKCTOCS serum for microRNA discovery and validation projects.

"Exiqon staff were extremely helpful in helping to design the study, analyze and interpret the results for us using all their past experience in this area."

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microRNA and diabetes

Dr. Jan-Wilhelm Kornfeld works in the lab of Prof. Jens C. Brüning in the Department of Mouse Genetics and Metabolism at the University of Cologne and the Max-Planck-Institute for Neurological Research (MPI-nF). Their work using in vivo LNA™ microRNA inhibitors towards miR-802 in mice demonstrates the great future potential for oligonucleotide-based therapeutics for this complex disease.

"The rapid generation and delivery of LNA™ microRNA inhibitors allowed for the quick execution of in vivo experiments and offered an attractive alternative to the generation of conventional microRNA knockout models.The addition, the LNA™ inhibitors are highly effective"

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microRNA biomarkers for asthma

Stefan Dehmel and Katrin Milger study how early life exposures affect later asthma risk. Their current project aims to identify microRNA-based biomarkers for asthma in serum. Learn about the challenges they faced and how they were overcome.

"High sensitivity is a great advantage of the Exiqon LNA™ microRNA qPCR system enabling us to study microRNA expression in minimal amounts of starting material"

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MicroRNAs in epilepsy

Eva M. Jimenez-Mateos and David C. Henshall work at the Centre for the Study of Neurological Disorders at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Here, they study how microRNAs influence epilepsy. A main challenge in the project was finding the optimal dose of inhibitor and scramble control to get specific inhibition and avoid off-target effects.

"For us the main benefits of Exiqon's microRNA inhibitors have been potency and high stability"

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New application for microRNA biomarkers

Sara Larriba is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that lead to male infertility and her current project involves the analysis of microRNAs in spermatozoa and their potential as biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of fertility disorders.

"Exiqon products are based on efficient and easy to use methods"

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Recent advances from a pioneer in the microRNA qPCR field

Dr. Yu Li was one of the first researchers using microRNA qPCR platforms on the market in 2006. Read about his current research into identification of novel microRNA biomarkers in biofluids for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver diseases.

"Over the years, the sensitivity and specificity of microRNA real-time PCR has been increased significantly due to the LNA™ technology .. "

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Quantification of microRNAs in body fluids

Florian Kuchenbauer and Sarah Grasedieck study acute myeloid leukemia at the University of Ulm in Germany. Here they share some of their insights into working with microRNA in CSF. Read about their exciting research.

"From the small sample amounts that were available to us, we wanted to obtain as much information as possible"

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Searching for biomarkers in LCM samples from prostate cancer

Zendra Zehner's lab at Virginia Commonwealth University is working on identifying microRNA biomarkers that can be used to detect tumor progression, follow treatment outcomes, and suggest alternative therapies. By using LCM they can survey all the different cell-types that comprise the tumor versus its adjacent normal environment.

"We need a qPCR method which is highly specific, reproducible, and reliable yet distinguish different microRNA family members"

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The role of miR-21 in liver regeneration

Holger Willenbring, Associate professor and Raymond Ng, PhD student, from Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation at the University of California San Francisco study many aspects of liver regeneration. They have been using Exiqon array services and miRCURY LNA™ microRNA in vivo inhibitors to study the role of miRNAs in this process.

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MicroRNAs in Arteriogenesis

Dr. Kerstin Troidl at Max-Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim, Germany, studies microRNAs involved in the growth of collateral arteries. She has produced some amazing ISH images of muscle cryosections using miRCURY LNA™ microRNA Detection Probes.

"The high product quality, detailed protocols as well as individual and personal communication were essential prerequisites for choosing Exiqon as a supplier. "

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MicroRNAs and diabetes

Himawan Harryanto at the University of Adelaide, Australia, studies the effect of fetal growth restriction on the development of diabetes in adult life. He has used Exiqon's microRNA microarray system to profile microRNAs in the pancreas.

"We found that Exiqon's LNA™ microRNA microarrays were versatile and easy to use"

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MicroRNAs in heart disease

Stefanie Dimmeler, Professor and group leader, and Reinier Boon, Post Doctoral researcher, work in the Institute for Cardiovascular Regeneration at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. Here they study the basic mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease and vessel growth with the aim to develop new therapies to improve treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

"The LNA™-inhibitors from Exiqon just work."

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MicroRNAs in Skin

Dr. Liming Luan at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville studies the role of microRNAs in normal and pathological conditions of the skin.

"Exiqon is one of the leading suppliers for miRNA-related products"

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High content microRNA inhibitor screening with cell arrays

Dr. Xavier Gidrol directs the Biomics Laboratory at the Institute of Life Science Research and Technologies in Grenoble, France. They use microfluidics, micromanufacturing and MEMS to study the impact of genetic and micro-environmental determinants on carcinogenesis, at the scale of a few or even single cells. Xavier has used minute cell microarrays to perform high throughput and high content screening with our human library of microRNA inhibitors in primary prostate cancer cells extracted from patients.

"...thanks to the LNA™ microRNA inhibitor screen, we have discovered several new miRNAs playing a major role in the regulation of the proliferation/differentiation balance in prostate cells."

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Viral microRNAs Involved in Cell Reprogramming

Amy Hansen is a Ph.D student at the University College London. She works in the Cancer Research UK Viral Oncology Group lead by Professor Chris Boshoff, Director of the UCL Cancer Institute.

"Previously, we had tried other inhibitor designs but these gave inconclusive results"

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MicroRNAs in Hypoxia

Dr. Mircea Ivan at Indiana University School of Medicine studies the role of microRNAs in hypoxia. Here he describes why his lab chose Exiqon's detection probes.

"I was intrigued by this interesting technology, which is very different from other available technologies."

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Changes in Gene Expression in Response to Starvation

Dr Tom Hamborg Nielsen, Associate Professor and group leader, and Dr. Maria Lundmark, Post Doctoral researcher, both work at the Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory at Copenhagen University, Denmark. They study how plants respond to phosphate starvation by changing their gene expression.

"The miRNA Profiling Services at Exiqon has performed the technical aspects of the analysis, a task which requires time and specialized knowledge. This has allowed us to focus on the quality of biological aspects of the experiment."

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MicroRNAs and Muscle Cell Differentiation

Dr. Annick Harel-Bellan (AHB) is Directeur de Recherche at the Institut Andre Lwoff in Paris. She heads a group working on epigenetics and cancer (Laboratoire Epigenetique et Cancer). Dr. Anna Polesskaya (AP) is a senior scientist and longstanding member of this group

"LNA microRNA antisense inhibitors are efficient and specific with long lasting effects"

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Quantitation of microRNAs in Tumor Angiogenesis

Dr. Dorina Veliceasa, from the department of Urology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, discusses the use of the miRCURY LNA™ microRNA PCR system in her investigation of tumor angiogenesis in endothelial cells. Dr. Veliceasa discusses the challenges of qPCR monitoring of microRNA species, including the importance of endogenous controls, and offers advice to other researchers interested in this method of determining microRNA expression levels.

"The scientists at Exiqon were very, very supportive"

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Gene Expression Control in Neurons

Antonella Riccio's lab at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Biology, UCL, in London studies neuronal gene expression and local protein synthesis in axons. Her group is trying to understand the triggers that induce translation of axonal mRNAs. With these questions in mind, Catia Andreassi, Senior Research Associate, has been working on mRNA localization in axons of primary sympathetic neurons using ISH, together with other approaches.

"I enjoyed very much my collaboration with Exiqon. Their technical support is very efficient, the turnaround time for the production of the LNA™ oligos quite good, and I believe they strive to give the best possible service to their customers."

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The Role of MicroRNA in Early Embryonic Development

Dr. Parker Antin's lab at the University of Arizona runs a large scale in situ hybridization database project to determine the expression patterns for all differentially expressed genes in the chicken embryo. Find out what the challenges were with this huge project and how they were overcome.

"LNA™ technology is superior to any other for the detection of small RNA species"

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Molecular Mechanisms of Stress Resistance

Dr. Shane Murray is a plant genomics expert at the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR) in Cape Town, South Africa. The CPGR is a modern world class, high throughput biology research facility that provides state-of-the-art analytical services and technical expertise in the genomics and proteomics sectors.

"the miRCURY kit is really easy to use and we obtained good quality data"

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Finding new ways of degrading cellulose

Maša Milatovic is a PhD student at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. She has been using LNA™ detection probes from Exiqon to detect cellulase mRNA transcripts in P. scaber.

"We got beautiful results repeatedly and could even detect the probes fluorescently."

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MicroRNAs in Muscle Cell Differentiation

Dr. Dylan Sweetman is working in Dr. Andrea Münsterberg's group at the University of East Anglia, School of Biological Sciences. The group investigates cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie embryonic development.

"Following the success of LNA™ probes as demonstrated in Plasterk's lab, we decided to take the same approach"

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MicroRNA Profiling in Cervical Neoplasms

Bali Muralidhar is working in Dr. Nick Coleman's group at the Medical Research Council Cancer Cell Unit in Cambridge, UK. The group is investigating novel approaches to cancer diagnosis. This involves two main areas: 1. The development of novel markers for improved screening for cervical cancer and colorectal cancer. 2. The mechanisms of cervical neoplastic progression.

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Studying MicroRNAs in Acute Leukemia

Amanda Dixon-McIver is finishing her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Silvana Debernardi, in the Medical Oncology Laboratory headed by Prof. Bryan Young in the Institute of Cancer, Barts Hospital, in London, UK.

"We chose to use miRCURY LNA™ knockdown probes as we had previous experience with using LNA probes for in situ hybridization with great success".

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Nasopharyngeal Cancer Development

Dr. Xin Li, Cancer Research Institute of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China

"Exiqon's product is impressive. The procedures are easy to understand and very fast".

"the Power Labeling Kit is very fast, thus our samples are labeled and ready for hybridization in just half a day"


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MicroRNA Involvment in Hormone Action

Scientist Louisa Cheung, Karolinska Institute, Sweden

"The miRCURY™ LNA microRNA PCR system is easy to use and provides high sensitivity and reproducibility."

"It makes my validation faster, easier and more quantitative"


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The Role of MicroRNAs in Kidney Development

Dr. Roman-Ulrich Müller, Zentrale Klinishe Forschung, Uniklinik Freiburg.

"Even microRNAs with a high level of similarity could be distinguished well using these arrays"

"The results show some differentially regulated miRNAs and a nice overlap of expression regarding miRNAs encoded by a common primary transcript."


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MicroRNAs and Homeostasis

Prof. Martina Muckenthaler and Prof. Matthias Hentze, University of Heidelberg and EMBL, Germany

"The superior detection sensitivity eliminates the need for RNA size selection"

"More answers than questions when it comes to data analysis and interpretation."


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MicroRNA Involvment in Embryo Development

Prof. Ronald H. A. Plasterk, Hubrecht Laboratory, The Netherlands

"We got some beautiful data and spectacular images"

"We generated a complete catalogue of images showing the temporal and spatial expression patterns of 115 conserved microRNAs in zebrafish embryos."


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