Oct. 6–9, 2021 | Virtual

Emerging roles of the nucleolus

Emerging roles of the nucleolus
Oct. 6–9, 2021 | Virtual | Paid registration required

This unique meeting will bring together scientists who focus on nucleolar structure and function, but with diverse research perspectives and approaches, to facilitate a wide-ranging discussion and an in-depth exploration of the subject from many angles. The topics addressed will range in scope from basic biology to human disease, including the biophysical properties of this organelle, cancer prognosis and treatments, and reproduction.

The meeting will be organized into six sessions over four days. Each session will be chaired by leaders in the field who will present their current work and select presenters based upon volunteered abstracts. Presentations will be 15 minutes with five minutes of discussion. Each session will conclude with a moderator-led general discussion. An interactive community board also will be available for discussion and networking. The meeting will conclude with an open discussion of emerging themes. We aim to have 50% of talks by early-career scientists. In past meetings, everyone who has selected an oral presentation has been accommodated, and we hope to continue that tradition in the virtual format. There will also be poster/flash talk sessions.

At the 2019 meeting, the attendees defined areas for future development and progress; 2021 will see an exciting delivery on one of these areas! The opening session will include two 25-minute talks by Craig Pikaard of Indiana University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Adam Phillippy of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who will present the latest assemblies of nucleolar organizer regions in A. thaliana and H. sapiens, respectively. This will be followed by a Q&A to discuss their exciting findings and future implications for the field.

  1. Opening session: Assembly of nucleolar organizer regions
  2. Chromosome biology and nucleolar organizer region function
  3. Nucleolar RNAs
  4. The nucleolus in development and disease
  5. Nucleolar trafficking and intracellular communication
  6. Nucleolar processes and phase separation

In an effort to accommodate schedules and time zones, all sessions will be recorded and posted in the virtual event platform for viewing on the same day as they occur. Sessions will include talks of varying length, including a flash talk format. The virtual event platform enables networking and communication outside of the scheduled sessions empowering registered attendees to contact other registrants and arrange meet-ups for informal discussions around topics of their choosing.

Important dates

Oct. 1
11:59 p.m. Eastern
Regular registration deadline


Jennifer Gerton
Jennifer Gerton
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Francesca E. Duncan
Francesca E. Duncan
Northwestern University
Craig Pikaard
Craig Pikaard
Indiana University


Program schedule

All times listed are U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4)

Wednesday October 6
Thursday October 7
Friday October 8
Saturday October 9

Wednesday agenda

5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Session 1: Assembly of nucleolar organizer regions

Chair: Julie Cooper, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Adding nucleolus organizer region sequences to the A. thaliana reference genome
Craig Pikaard, Indiana University
Flash talk: Arabidopsis thaliana nucleolar organizer region assembly using ultra-long Oxford Nanopore sequencing and dotplot puzzle fitting
Anastasia McKinlay, Indiana University
Flash talk: Nearly complete sequences of Arabidopsis thaliana NORs obtained using structural variant-based assembly software
Dalen Fultz, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Substantial rDNA copy number reduction produces variable tissue-specific phenotypes in C. elegans
Elizabeth Morton, University of Washington
Bloom syndrome and ribosomal DNA instability
Keith Maggert, University of Arizona
Flash talk: BLM deficiency induce rDNA-driven micronucleation in a RAD51-dependent manner
Dorthe Larsen, Danish Cancer Society
Flash talk: R3 is a novel transcribed insertion within 28S ribosomal RNA
Susan Gerbi, Brown University
The retrotransposon R2 maintains ribosomal DNA repeats in the Drosophila melanogaster male germline
Jonathan Nelson, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Flash talk: Widespread germline genetic heterogeneity of human ribosomal RNA genes
Wenjun Fan, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Nanopore sequencing unveils unexpected sequence, structure and methylation variability in ribosomal RNA gene repeats
Emiliana Weiss, Australian National University
The first complete sequence of a set of human acrocentric chromosomes
Adam Phillippy, National Human Genome Research Institute

Thursday agenda

11:00 AM - 1:20 PM

Session 2: Chromosome biology and nucleolar organizer region function

Chair: Craig Pikaard, Indiana University

Precision chromosome engineering reveals fundamental aspects of nucleolar organisation in human cells
Brian McStay, National University of Ireland, Galway
Assembly dynamics of the nucleolus and heterochromatin
Srivarsha Rajshekar, University of California, Berkeley
How to evade meiotic recombination: An rDNA story
Jason Sims, Max Perutz Labs
Flash talk: Nucleolus organizer regions in Arabidopsis as model loci for studying epigenetic effects on homologous and nonhomologous recombination
Gireesha Mohannath, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Hyderabad
Mechanism of rDNA copy number maintenance by rDNA binding protein Indra in the germline of Drosophila
George Watase, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rethinking the stress paradigm: Exploring new connections between epigenetic adaptation, cellular stress and ribosomal DNA transcription
Kaushik Ragunathan, University of Michigan
Hedgehog signaling enables repair of ribosomal DNA double-strand breaks
Lalita Shevde, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Flash talk: Different mutant alleles of histone deacetylase 6 (hda6) have different effects on genome instability of rDNA and the associated telomeres in Arabidopsis thaliana
Gargi Prasad Saradadevi, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Hyderabad
Elucidation of an unusual translocation pathway that allows rDNA to supersede telomeres
Julie Cooper, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Session 3: Nucleolar trafficking and intracellular communication

Chair: ​Susan Baserga, Yale University

Nopp140 acts as a chaperone of snoRNPs in nucleoli and Cajal bodies
U. Thomas Meier, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Nucleolar morphology in the context of cellular organization and functions in human induced pluripotent stem cells
Christopher Frick, Allen Institute for Cell Science
Flash talk: Inflammation causes alterations in nucleolus-associated chromatin domains, a process mediated by a mitogen-activated kinase p38
Anastassia Vertii, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase signalling in the nucleolus
Aurélia Lewis, University of Bergen
Flash talk: Characterization of nucleolar stress induced by small-molecule platinum compounds
Victoria DeRose, University of Oregon
Flash talk: The Wnt/beta-catenin pathway is activated as a novel nucleolar stress response
Astrid Pfister, Ulm University
Multifunctional ribosomal proteins: Evidence for extraribosomal functions within the eRpL22 family in Drosophila melanogaster
Vassie Ware, Lehigh University
Flash talk: Organelle influence on the ribosomal DNA and nucleolar morphologies through nuclear envelope expansion around the vacuole
Emiliano Matos-Perdomo, University Hospital of the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria
Flash talk: Screening for molecular regulators of rDNA spatial organization in fission yeast
Alexandria Cockrell, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Flash talk: A dual role for p62 (SQSTM1) in the NF-kB nucleolar stress response pathway
Lesley Stark, University of Edinburgh
Nuclear stabilisation of p53 requires a functional nucleolar surveillance pathway
Amee George, Australian National University

Friday agenda

11:00 AM - 1:15 PM

Session 4: Nucleolar RNAs

Chair: ​Brian McStay, National University of Ireland, Galway

High throughput discovery of novel regulators of ribosome biogenesis in human cells
Susan Baserga and Carson Bryant, Yale University
Flash talk: Loss of N-Myc Interactor impinges upon rRNA epitranscriptomics in hypoxia
Rajeev Samant, Birmingham VA Medical Center
Flash talk: Human NOL7 is a likely yeast Utp16 analog that is required for early pre-rRNA accumulation and pre-SSU RNA processing
Mason McCool, Yale University
Flash talk: The human RBM10 gene dually encodes a repressor of ribosome biogenesis that downregulates cell proliferation
Xiongwen Cao, Yale University
Flash talk: Why is RNase MRP essential?
Lasse Lindahl, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Flash talk: Inter and intra domain communication within an essential nucleolar AAA-ATPase drives ribosome biogenesis
Seda Kocaman, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Nucleolus-enriched monoallelically expressed ncRNAs regulate rRNA expression
Kannanganattu Prasanth, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Pre-rRNA processing in the nucleolus
Robin Stanley and Jacob Gordon, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Flash talk: Chromatin changes in the regulation of RNA pol I transcription
Ann-Kristin Östlund Farrants, Stockholm University
RNA polymerase I is the most sensitive eukaryotic RNA polymerase
Ruth Jacobs, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Flash talk: Mammalian PAF49, the ortholog of the nonessential yeast RNA polymerase I subunit RPA34, is essential for rDNA transcription
Rachel McNamar, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Flash talk: Exploring the interaction specificity between the eukaryotic RNA polymerase ⍺-like subunits
Alana Belkevich, SUNY Upstate Medical University
RNA polymerase I mutant affect ribosomal RNA processing and impact ribosomal DNA stability
Olivier Gadal, Centre for Integrative Biology, Toulouse
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Session 5: The nucleolus in development and disease

Chair: Francesca E. Duncan, Northwestern University

Nucleolar regulation of ribosome assembly underlies organismal longevity
Adam Antebi, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
Regulation of nucleolar activity during the transition to replicative senescence in budding yeast
Sandrine Morlot, Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire
Flash talk: Partial inhibition of RNA Polymerase I promotes health and longevity in the fruit fly
Alic Nazif, University College London
Flash talk: Exportin 1 integrates nucleolar function and proteostasis to control longevity
Anita Kumar, Brown University
SOD1 promotes ribosome biogenesis and nucleolar hypertrophy in non-small cell lung cancer
Steven Zheng, Rutgers University
Flash talk: Identifying novel regulators of nucleolar function in hyperproliferative cells
Maralice Connaci-Sorrell, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Flash talk: Nucleolar number in mouse oocytes influences select morphokinetic parameters of meiotic maturation
Chanakarn Suebthawinkul, Northwestern University
Functional CRISPR-Cas9 screens identify master regulators of resistance to chemical targeting RNA polymerase I
Wenjun Fan, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Flash talk: Therapeutic inhibition of RNA polymerase I reveals vulnerability of mismatch repair defective cancers
Marikki Laiho, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Flash talk: Identification of an E3 ligase regulating the catalytic subunit of RNA polymerase I
Stephanie Pitts, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Determining the mechanism of action of a small-molecule RNA polymerase I inhibitor in vivo
Abigail Huffines, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Flash talk: Development of 2nd generation RNA Polymerase I inhibitors for cancer therapy
Katherine Hannan, Australian National University
Flash talk: RNA polymerase I and II inhibitors act synergistically as cancer therapeutics
Rita Ferreira, Australian National University
An atlas of mammalian transcription factor binding to rDNA reveals a role for CEBPA in the regulation of rRNA transcription
Vikram Paralkar, University of Pennsylvania

Saturday agenda

11:00 AM - 1:15 PM

Session 6: Nucleolar processes and phase separation

Chair: Jennifer Gerton, Stowers Institute for Medical Research

The roles of phase separation in nucleolar biology; ribosome assembly and oncogenic stress response
Richard Kriwacki, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
Flash talk: Ribosome assembly creates the granularity of the outer region of the nucleolus
Michele Tolbert, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Flash talk: Inhibiting nucleolar function by targeting nucleolar biophysics
Broder Schmidt, Stanford University
Structural characterization of pre-ribosomal particles from phase-separated human nucleoli
Sameer Singh, Rockefeller University
Flash talk: The C. elegans homolog of nucleolin, NUCL-1, contributes to nucleolar organization through its intrinsically disordered RG/RGG repeat domain
Emily Spaulding, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory
Flash talk: TCAB1 prevents nucleolar accumulation of the telomerase RNA to promote telomerase assembly
Jens Schmidt, Michigan State University
The rDNA is biomolecular condensate formed by polymer–polymer phase separation and is sequestered in the nucleolus by transcription and R-loops
Josh Lawrimore, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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