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Application Stories

MicroRNAs in Hypoxia

miRCURY LNA™ microRNA Detection Probes

Dr. Mircea Ivan
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.

1. What is the current research going on in your lab?

We are working on the role of microRNAs in hypoxia. We were the first lab to actually establish a connection between hypoxia and microRNA expression. Currently, we’re focused primarily on a few microRNAs – including miR-210, which is becoming an interesting player in the hypoxia field. We integrate as many tools and methods as possible to investigate what miR-210 is doing in a variety of biological systems.

2. How did your research lead you to the study of microRNAs?

It was something of an opportunistic decision back in 2006. Hypoxia is a very competitive field. So, when I was starting up a new lab, I needed to find a novel approach. I talked to an old colleague of mine, Dr. George Calin, back then at OSU, and we started a collaboration, looking at microRNA changes in response to low oxygen.

3. What were the key factors for you in choosing a microRNA supplier and partner?

I tend not to limit myself to one provider or technology platform. I try at least two types of reagents for any method, whenever possible. Cross-platform validation is very important. You need to try and skin the cat in more than one way. It’s more costly, but you sleep better at night.

4. What made you choose Exiqon?

I was intrigued by this interesting technology, which is very different from other available technologies. I was very attracted to the possibility of in situ hybridization, and the ability to use the same probes for both in vitro and in vivo studies.

5. How has it worked so far?

We’re still in early stages, but so far so good. We’re bringing on another post-doctoral position soon to focus on the in vivo aspects of our project. We are still optimizing ISH protocols, since we’ve found that the right conditions can vary greatly depending on which microRNA you study.

6. What were some specific challenges in your project?

When we started looking at microRNAs, there were a limited number of reagents and microRNA supplier companies. Also, even now, there is a challenge of how to answer the question of off-target effects of microRNA modulation.

7. How did you overcome them?

You can use different technologies and compare results, working to cancel out the same off-target effects.

8. What would you tell a colleague about why they should work with Exiqon?

What is so interesting about Exiqon is that you can interrogate one system in vitro and in vivo with the same technology. It makes some of the approaches of using this technology very powerful. The addition of in situ hybridization capabilities is another powerful element, since localization is such a useful validation step.

9. Where will your research be showcased next?

Look for a new paper on cancer coming soon. We have several publications planned over the next two years.

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