Welcome to the Hundley Lab at Indiana University

  • Research

    Studying RNA Editing Regulation and Consequences on Gene Expression from C. elegans to humans

    RNA Editing in cellular RNAs, Image from Hundley and Bass, TiBS, 2010

    RNA Editing and ADARs

    All cells of the human body contain the same genetic material, but have distinct functions and phenotypes due to variations in the messenger RNAs (and in turn the proteins) they express. Sequence alterations that change the genome-encoded information present in RNAs provide a powerful way to diversify the transcripts expressed in an organism’s cells over time. In addition to splicing, a major means to create diversity in RNA sequences is through enzymatic modification. RNA modifications are programmed in all organisms and influence many biological processes including metabolism, gene regulation, neuronal function, and immunity. Diverse classes of enzymes catalyze more than 100 different types of modifications in specific target RNAs. Next generation sequencing has allowed cataloging of these modifications and indicates RNA modification is altered in many diseases. However, a fundamental understanding of the molecular determinants that dictate when, where, and to what extent RNA editing occurs is lacking. In the Hundley lab, we are trying to address these fundamental questions and specifically focus on the ADAR family of enzymes. ADARs are essential in mammals and required for proper neuronal function in all animals. Consistent with this, ADARs are highly expressed in the nervous system of both C. elegans (worms) and humans. ADARs bind to double-stranded RNA, including small RNA precursors, long non-coding RNAs and double-stranded regions of mRNA, and convert adenosine (A) to inosine (I), a process commonly referred to as RNA editing.

    Impacts of A-to-I editing on Gene Expression, Image from Deffit and Hundley, WIREs RNA, 2016

    A-to-I Editing and Impacts of Editing on Gene Expression

    The most prevalent type of RNA editing in mRNA is the deamination of adenosine, with over 100 million editing events identified in the human transcriptome. Despite the fact that RNA editing is pervasive, it is still a poorly understood process. Deamination of adenosine (A) results in inosine (I), which has similar base-pairing properties as guanosine. Due to these differences in base-pairing, A-to-I editing can alter the amino acid encoded by a codon, modify splice sites and affect the interaction of the RNA molecule with itself or other RNAs, such as miRNAs and siRNAs. Thus, A-to-I editing in both coding and noncoding regions of mRNA can be biologically significant. Editing at individual sites is often less than 100%. Therefore, RNA editing generates multiple transcripts from a single genomic locus and is a major contributor to proteomic diversity and the control of gene expression. In addition, rather than serving as a static control of gene expression, A-to-I RNA editing provides a means to dynamically re-wire the genetic code during development and in a cell-type specific manner. Alterations in the levels of unedited to edited transcripts has been observed in a spectrum of central nervous system disorders (autism, stroke, epilepsy), neuropsychiatric diseases (chronic depression, bipolar disorder) neurodegenerative diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease), and many types of cancer, including brain tumors (glioblastomas). However the editing levels do not directly correlate to the expression of ADAR proteins in many diseases, implying that other mechanisms to regulate RNA editing exist. In collaboration with the Yeo lab at UCSD, we have recently utilized next generation sequencing and molecular biology approaches to identify a major regulator of noncoding editing in C. elegans. Current efforts in the Hundley lab are focused on dissecting the regulatory mechanism and determining the conservation of this regulatory protein in human cells.

    Regulation of RNA Editing, Image from Washburn and Hundley, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2016

    Regulation of A-to-I Editing

    It has been proposed that modulating editing levels could serve as an efficient therapeutic to treat both cancers and many neuopathological diseases. However, as two editing enzymes are responsible for editing thousands of human genes, overexpression of ADARs could result in unwanted effects. Therefore, developing approaches that enhance editing of specific targets are likely better therapeutic strategies. However, it is not known how to affect such editing modulation. One long-term goal of the Hundley lab is to understand how the activity of ADARs can be modulated at specific places in RNA. In this regards, a major focus of the lab is to identify cellular factors and molecular mechanisms that regulate RNA editing. Rather than trying to identify disease-specific regulators, to get at these regulatory pathways, we are focusing on the fact that in an organism the extent of editing varies during development and between cell types. Interestingly, editing levels do not directly correlate with levels of the substrate mRNA or RNA editing enzymes. Thus, there are cellular factors that contribute to the spatiotemporal regulation of A-to-I editing. As ADARs target newly synthesized RNA, the speed of transcription and splicing can affect overall editing levels. In addition, other RNA binding proteins that bind to the same targets as ADARs can both positively and negatively impact editing levels. Current efforts in the lab are aimed at determining ADAR targets in the C. elegans nervous system. In addition, in collaboration with the lab of Ayelet Lamm, we are focusing on identifying developmental regulators of editing in C. elegans.

  • Current Lab Members

    Heather A. Hundley, hundley indiana

    Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical Sciences Program, Indiana University School of Medicine

    B.S. Chemistry, Eastern Illinois University

    Ph.D. Biomolecular Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Postdoctoral Fellowship, HHMI/University of Utah

    Suba Rajendren, GCDB student

    Suba Rajendren

    Genome, Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Student

    B.Sc Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Justin Peterson

    Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Graduate Student

    B.S. Biology, California State University-Fullerton

    Reshma Kurup

    Genome, Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Student

    B.S., M.S. Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvanathapuram (IISER-TVM)

    Priyanka Mukherjee

    Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology Graduate Student

    B.S., M.S. Biotechnology, St. Xavier's College, Kolkata India

    Pranathi Vadlamani

    Research Associate

    B.S., M.S. Biotechnology, Indiana University


    Whitney Carroll


    B.A. Biology, Indiana University 2018

    Olivia Abraham

    Undergraduate Researcher

    B.S. Biochemistry, Indiana University

    2021 (expected)

    Amanda Lawson

    Undergraduate Researcher

    B.S. Human Biology, Indiana University 2021 (expected)

  • Former Lab Members

    If you are missing from this list, please contact Heather and give her an update on where you are! She would love to hear from you.

    Mike Washburn, Ph.D. (former graduate student) – currently a Research Scientist at Archer DX, Boulder CO

    Emily Wheeler (former undergraduate student) – currently a graduate student at UCSD

    Ellen Hallberg (former undergraduate student) – currently a medical student at St. Louis University

    Jingyi Chen (former undergraduate exchange student) – currently a graduate student at The Scripps Research Institute

    Amber Thomas (former graduate student) – currently a lab manager at the University of Colorado, Denver

    Nick McCrory (former volunteer researcher) – currently a medical student at Duke University School of Medicine

    Brittany Levy (former undergraduate student) – currently a medical student at University of Cincinnati

    Ashanti Matlock (former undergraduate student) – currently a graduate student at Ohio State University

    Haider Al-Awadi (former undergraduate student) – currently a M.D./M.P.H. student at IU School of Medicine

    Ashley Anderson (former undergraduate student) – currently enrolled in the B.S./M.S. STEM Education Program at IU

    Sarah Deffit, Ph.D. (former postdoctoral fellow) – currently an adjunct faculty member at Tacoma Community College

    Eimile Oakes, Ph.D. (former graduate student) – currently a Medical Writer at Global Medical Writing and Translation

    Aidan Manning (former research associate) – currently a graduate student at University of California, Santa Cruz

  • Publications

    Hundley Lab Publications

    Rajendren S, Manning AC, Al-Awadi H, Yamada K, Takagi Y, Hundley HA (2018) A Protein-Protein Interaction Underlies the Molecular Basis for Substrate Recognition by an Adenosine to Inosine RNA Editing Enzyme, NAR, 2018 Oct 12;46(18):9647-9659.


    Deffit SN, Yee BA, Manning AC, Rajendren S, Vadlamani P, Manning AC, Wheeler EC, Domissy A, Washburn, MC, Yeo GW, Hundley HA (2017) The C. elegans neural editome reveals an ADAR target mRNA required for proper chemotaxis, eLife, 2017 Sep 19;6. pii: e28625. doi: 10.7554/eLife.28625.


    Oakes E, Vadlamani and Hundley HA (2017) Methods for the Detection of Adenosine-to-Inosine Editing Events in Cellular RNA, Methods in Molecular Biology, volume 1648: mRNA Processing, 2017;103-127. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7204-3_9.


    Oakes E, Anderson, Cohen-Gadol A, Hundley HA (2017) Adenosine Deaminase that Acts on RNA 3 (ADAR3) Binding to Glutamate Receptor Subunit B Pre-mRNA Inhibits RNA Editing in Glioblastoma, JBC, 2017 Mar 10; 292(10):4326-4335.


    Washburn MC and Hundley HA (2016) Trans and cis factors affecting A-to-I RNA editing efficiency of a noncoding editing target in C. elegans, RNA, 2016 Feb 25.


    Deffit SN and Hundley HA (2016) To edit or not to edit: Regulation of ADAR editing specificity and efficiency, WIREs RNA, Jan-Feb;7(1):113-27. doi:10.1002/wrna.1319.

    • One of the top 10 Accessed Articles in WIREs RNA for 2016     

    Washburn MC and Hundley HA (2016) Controlling the editor: the many roles of RNA binding proteins in regulating A-to-I RNA editing, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, volume 907: RNA Processing, 2016;907:189-213. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-29073-7_8.


    Wheeler EC, Washburn MC, Major F, Rusch DB, Hundley HA (2015) Noncoding regions of C. elegans mRNA undergo selective adenosine to inosine deamination and contain a small number of editing sites per transcript, RNA Biology, 2015 Feb;12(2):162-74. doi:10.1080/15476286.2015.1017220.


    Washburn MC, Kakaradov B, Sundararaman B, Wheeler E, Hoon S, Yeo GW, and Hundley HA (2014) The dsRBP and inactive editor, ADR-1, utilizes dsRNA binding to regulate A-to-I RNA editing across the C. elegans transcriptome, Cell Reports, Feb 27;6(4):599-607.

    Hundley HA (2013) Regulation of gene expression through inosine-containing UTRs, In RNA Editing: Current Research and Future Trends, S. Maas, ed. (Horizon Press)


    Bass B, Hundley H, Li JB, Peng Z, Pickrell J, Xiao XG, Yang L. (2012) The difficult calls in RNA editing, Nature Biotechnology, Dec 7;30(12):1207-9.


    Capshew CR, Dusenbury KL and Hundley HA (2012) Inverted Alu dsRNA structures do not affect localization but alter translation of human mRNAs independent of RNA editing, Nucleic Acids Research (NAR), 2012 Sep 1;40(17):8637-45.


    Hundley HA and Bass BL (2010) RNA editing in double-stranded UTRs and other noncoding RNA sequences, TiBS, 2010 Jul;35(7):377-83.


     Before Coming to IU

    Hundley HA, Krauchuk AA, Bass BL (2008) C. elegans and H. sapiens mRNAs with edited 3’ UTRs are present on polysomes, RNA, 2008 Oct;14(10):2050-2060.


    Bass BL, Hellwig S, Hundley HA. (2005) A nuclear RNA is cut out for Translation, Cell, 2005 Oct21;123(2):181-183.


    Rauch T, Hundley HA, Pfund C, Wegrzyn RD, Walter W, Kramer G, Kim SY, Craig EA, Deuerling E (2005) Dissecting functional similarities of ribosome-associated chaperones from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli, Molecular Microbiology, 2005 Jul;57(2):357-65.


    Hundley HA, Walter W, Bairstow S, Craig, EA. (2005) Human Mpp11 J-protein: Ribosome-tethered Molecular Chaperones Are Ubiquitous, Science, 2005 May 13; 308(5724):1032-4.


    Craig EA, Eisenman HE, Hundley HA. (2003) Ribosome-tethered molecular chaperones: the first line of defense against protein misfolding? Current Opinion in Microbiology 2003 Apr; 6(2):157-62.


    Hundley H, Eisenman H, Walter W, Evans T, Hotokezaka Y, Wiedmann M, Craig E. (2002) The in vivo function of the ribosome-associated Hsp70, Ssz1, does not require its putative peptide-binding domain. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2002 Apr 2;99(7):4203-8.

  • News

    Take a look and enjoy!

    July 2018

    The last week of July wrapped up with three poster sessions---the Indy worm meeting where undergrad Olivia Abraham made her poster deput, the IU-Bloomington Office of Engaged Learning poster session where undergrad Amanda Lawson presented her summer research on ADAR3, and last but not least, the Indiana Medical Student Program for Research and Scholarship poster session where (nearly) MS2 students Obi Nwosu and Anna Dudley presented their summer research and Obi took home an honorable mention prize for his poster! Thanks to all in the lab for a great summer of research-

    July 2018

    Heather attended the 2018 Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation Gordon Conference and presented a poster on the lab's work on a new mode of substrate recognition for the ADAR enzymes.

    July 2018

    The lab is awarded a Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Trust grant to gain additional preliminary data for a new project on RNA-mediated regulation of innate immune gene expression and pathogen resistance!

    June 2018

    Heather chairs the Noncoding RNA session at the 2018 C. elegans Small RNA, Pathogenesis, Aging and Metabolism meeting!

    June 2018

    Heather presented the lab's work on neural editing and chemotaxis at the C. elegans Neuro 2018 meeting.

    June 2018

    The Hundley lab welcomes undergraduate Amanda Lawson to the lab for her summer Women in STEM LLC project!

    May 2018

    Graduate student Suba Rajendren led off the talks in the RNA Editing and Modification session at the 2018 RNA Society meeting. Great job telling your exciting story on ADAR substrate RNA recognition!

    March 2018

    GCDB graduate student, Reshma Kurup joins the Hundley lab--welcome Reshma!

    March 2018

    Graduate student Suba Rajendren wins a travel award from RNA Society to attend the annual RNA Society meeting in Berkeley, California. Congrats Suba!

    February 2018

    Heather had a wonderful visit to Case Western Reserve University and presenting the lab's work at the RNA Center.

    January 2018

    Suba Rajendren is awarded the Doane and Eunice Dahl Wright fellowship for 2018. Congrats Suba!

    January 2018

    Heather visits Purdue Cancer Center to talk about the lab's recent work.

    October 2017

    Heather presents the labs' work on RNA editing in the worm nervous system to the Department of Biology at Ball State University.

    October 2017

    The Hundley lab makes the short journey to Indianapolis to attend the 2017 Rustbelt RNA meeting.

    Congrats to Suba for her honorable recognition poster prize! Great job Suba!

    October 2017

    Suba and Eimile present their research at the 2017 IUSM Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Research Day

    August 2017

    Congrats to Pranathi and Eimile on the publication of their Methods in Molecular Biology Chapter on Methods to Detect A-to-I RNA Editing--This is a great resource for anyone attempting to examine A-to-I RNA editing of cellular RNAs!

    September 2017

    Sarah's exciting paper on neural cell RNA-seq was accepted at eLIFE! This work wouldn't have been possible without a great collaboration with the Yeo lab and many Hundley lab members past and present (Aidan, Suba, Pranathi, Mike and Emily). Congrats to all!

    July 2017

    Eimile and Heather receive a pilot grant to identify more ADAR3 regulated targets in glioblastoma!

    July 2017

    Khorana Scholar, Britya Ghosh, finished her summer research project on RNA Editing in glioblastoma.

    June 2017

    Pranathi completes her Masters Research in Biotechnology by completing the construction of 24 RNA-seq libraries! We will miss you Pranathi-

    April 2017

    Undergraduate Haider Al-Awadi defends his undergraduate thesis research in the Chemistry Department

    April 2017

    Master's student Pranathi Vadlamani wins first place in the poster competition at the Hutton Honors College Research Symposium. Congrats Pranathi!

    March 2017

    Graduate students Suba and Eimile receive a Women in Science Travel Award from the IU Provost's Office to support their trip to the 2017 RNA Editing Gordon Research Conference in Ventura, CA.


    Suba was also selected to give an oral presentation at that 2017 RNA Editing Gordon Research Seminar.


    Congrats Suba and Eimile!

    February 2017

    Biochemistry Graduate Student, Justin Peterson joins the Hundley lab. Welcome Justin!

    February 2017

    Congrats to grad student Eimile Oakes and undergraduate student Ashley Anderson on publication of their study of the role of ADAR3 in glioblastoma in JBC!


    December 2016

    Dr. Sarah Deffit was awarded an NIH F32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship for her studies in the Hundley lab. Congrats Sarah!

    October 2016

    Thanks to Pranathi, Suba, Haider and Eimile on helping to introduce our Brownie troop visitors to science in the Hundley lab (and liquid nitrogen!)

    October 2016

    The Hundley lab enjoyed a journey to the 2016 Rustbelt RNA meeting in Cleveland Ohio with postdoc, Sarah Deffit, presenting her exciting neural editing data in an oral presentation and Suba, Eimile, Pranathi and Haider presenting posters.

    September 2016

    Graduate student Suba Rajendren passes her prelim- Congrats Suba!

    August 2016

    Heather is awarded the Bergmann Prize from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation. In addition, the Lamm and Hundley labs are awarded a joint research grant from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation to study the developmental regulation of editing in C. elegans.

    June 2016

    STEM Summer Scholar Emilia Oben, a junior undergraduate from Jackson State University, joins the Hundley lab for a summer research experience. Welcome Emilia!

    May 2016

    Emilie presents her thesis research at the Simon Cancer Research Day in Indianapolis.

    May 2016

    Sarah is awarded a CTSI Postdoc Challenge grant to perform pilot studies at the IUB-Flow Cytometry Core and the IUB- Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics. Congrats Sarah!

    March 2016

    Haider is awarded the Robert and Marjorie Mann Scholarship to continue his undergraduate project in the lab this summer. Congrats Haider!

    March 2016

    Ashley is awarded the STEM Summer Scholars Institute scholarship to continue her undergraduate project in the lab this summer. Congrats Ashley!

    February 2016

    IUB-undergraduate, Pranathi Vadlamani joins the lab to get a head start on her biotechnology master’s project. Welcome Pranathi!

    December 2015

    Emilie presents her thesis research at the American Society for Cell Biology meeting in San Diego.

    December 2015

    Dr. Washburn defends his thesis research and graduates from Indiana University. Congrats Mike!

  • Connect With Us

    We are actively seeking applications from interested postdoctoral fellows and research assistants, as well as undergraduate and graduate students!

    Hundley lab at Indiana University

    We are located in Jordan Hall,

    Indiana University

    Bloomington, Indiana

    Heather's email is hahundle@indiana.edu


    Heather accepts graduate students from a number of graduate programs at IU, including the Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology Program and the Genome, Cell and Developmental Biology Program

    Phone contact information for Heather Hundley

    Heather's Office Phone: 812-855-0675

    Hundley Lab Phone: 812-855-2911

  • Funding

    Research in the Hundley Lab is supported by ....

    Research Scholar Award (RNA mechanisms in cancer)

    Bergmann Prize and Collaborative Research Grant

    American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (Simon Cancer Center)

    Core Pilot Grant

    Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust Grant, Biomedical Research Enhancement Grant, Start-up Funds