The Aspden Lab addresses questions on the regulation of mRNA translation, non-coding RNA function and the role of specific RNA-protein complexes. They combine biochemistry, genomics, molecular biology and genetics to study RNAs in fruit flies and mammalian tissue culture. Many of the regulatory processes and RNA-binding proteins are highly conserved between Drosophila and mammals. This research focus is of general interest and importance because disruptions to RNA-protein interactions and translational regulation play significant roles in a variety of cancers and other disorders (e.g. spinal muscular atrophy) and many non-coding RNAs show correlations with neuronal disease phenotypes but their role in cellular mis-function has not been elucidated. Addressing the dynamic nature of RNPs may also shed some light on why changes in RNA-binding protein levels are frequently altered in cancerous cells. The group is also interested in understanding the molecular basis of human male infertility by studying how translation is regulated in the testes and sperm.