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Craig Mello PhD

TitleDistinguished Professor
InstitutionUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
DepartmentRNA Therapeutics Institute
AddressUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
368 Plantation Street, Suite AS5-2047
Worcester MA 01605
Phone508-856-1602
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    Other Positions
    InstitutionUMMS - School of Medicine
    DepartmentProgram in Molecular Medicine

    InstitutionUMMS - School of Medicine
    DepartmentRNA Therapeutics Institute

    InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentBioinformatics and Computational Biology

    InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentCell Biology

    InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentInterdisciplinary Graduate Program

    InstitutionUMMS - Programs, Centers and Institutes
    DepartmentCancer Center

    InstitutionUMMS - Programs, Centers and Institutes
    DepartmentCenter for AIDS Research


    Collapse ORNG Applications 
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Brown University, Providence, RI, United StatesBSBiochemistry
    Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, United StatesPHDCellular/Developmental Biology

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview


    Academic Background



    Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine



    Dr. Craig C. Mello received his B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from Brown University in 1982, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1990. From 1990 to 1994 he conducted postdoctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. He has been a member of the University of Massachusetts Medical School faculty since 1995, and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator since 2000. His pioneering research on RNAi, in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Fire, has been recognized with numerous awards culminating with the prestigious 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.



    RNA-mediated Gene Regulation



    Photo: Craig Mello



    In much the same way that we use short search queries to navigate the World Wide Web, cells use short segments of genetic code to find and regulate matching information. The proteins that mediate these searches are highly conserved in plants and animals and are essential for viability and fertility. Craig Mello is investigating how these search mechanisms work and how organisms use them to regulate, share, and propagate genetic information.



    For more information about Dr. Mello's research, please visit his Howard Hughes Medical Institute page at:



    https://www.hhmi.org/research/rna-interference-and-development-c-elegans



    Collapse Rotation Projects


    Potential Rotation Projects:



    There are numerous potential rotation project available in the Mello lab:



    Projects include: Investigation of RNAi and related mechanisms, including Piwi Argonaute pathways and their affects on fertility and epigenetic inheritance; Investigation of germline determination and cell-fate specification during embryogenesis; the exploration of CRISPR mediated genome editing tools for C. elegans and other organisms; and finally the use of CRISPR to generate C. elegans models for human genetic disease.




    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Gammon DB, Ishidate T, Li L, Gu W, Silverman N, Mello CC. The Antiviral RNA Interference Response Provides Resistance to Lethal Arbovirus Infection and Vertical Transmission in Caenorhabditis elegans. Curr Biol. 2017 Feb 23. PMID: 28262484.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Tang W, Tu S, Lee HC, Weng Z, Mello CC. The RNase PARN-1 Trims piRNA 3' Ends to Promote Transcriptome Surveillance in C. elegans. Cell. 2016 Feb 25; 164(5):974-84. PMID: 26919432.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Sharma U, Conine CC, Shea JM, Boskovic A, Derr AG, Bing XY, Belleannee C, Kucukural A, Serra RW, Sun F, Song L, Carone BR, Ricci EP, Li XZ, Fauquier L, Moore MJ, Sullivan R, Mello CC, Garber M, Rando OJ. Biogenesis and function of tRNA fragments during sperm maturation and fertilization in mammals. Science. 2016 Jan 22; 351(6271):391-6. PMID: 26721685.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Hainer SJ, Gu W, Carone BR, Landry BD, Rando OJ, Mello CC, Fazzio TG. Suppression of pervasive noncoding transcription in embryonic stem cells by esBAF. Genes Dev. 2015 Feb 15; 29(4):362-78. PMID: 25691467.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Tsai HY, Chen CC, Conte D, Moresco JJ, Chaves DA, Mitani S, Yates JR, Tsai MD, Mello CC. A ribonuclease coordinates siRNA amplification and mRNA cleavage during RNAi. Cell. 2015 Jan 29; 160(3):407-19. PMID: 25635455.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Conte D, MacNeil LT, Walhout AJ, Mello CC. RNA Interference in Caenorhabditis elegans. Curr Protoc Mol Biol. 2015 Jan 05; 109:26.3.1-30. PMID: 25559107.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Gammon DB, Duraffour S, Rozelle DK, Hehnly H, Sharma R, Sparks ME, West CC, Chen Y, Moresco JJ, Andrei G, Connor JH, Conte D, Gundersen-Rindal DE, Marshall WL, Yates JR, Silverman N, Mello CC. A single vertebrate DNA virus protein disarms invertebrate immunity to RNA virus infection. Elife. 2014 Jun 25; 3. PMID: 24966209.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Kim H, Ishidate T, Ghanta KS, Seth M, Conte D, Shirayama M, Mello CC. A co-CRISPR strategy for efficient genome editing in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics. 2014 Aug; 197(4):1069-80. PMID: 24879462.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Ishidate T, Elewa A, Kim S, Mello CC, Shirayama M. Divide and differentiate: CDK/Cyclins and the art of development. Cell Cycle. 2014; 13(9):1384-91. PMID: 24675894.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Seth M, Shirayama M, Gu W, Ishidate T, Conte D, Mello CC. The C. elegans CSR-1 argonaute pathway counteracts epigenetic silencing to promote germline gene expression. Dev Cell. 2013 Dec 23; 27(6):656-63. PMID: 24360782.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Conine CC, Moresco JJ, Gu W, Shirayama M, Conte D, Yates JR, Mello CC. Argonautes promote male fertility and provide a paternal memory of germline gene expression in C. elegans. Cell. 2013 Dec 19; 155(7):1532-44. PMID: 24360276.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Ishidate T, Kim S, Mello C, Shirayama M. Inductive asymmetric cell division: The WRM leads the way. Worm. 2013 Oct 1; 2(4):e26276. PMID: 24524013.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Kim S, Ishidate T, Sharma R, Soto MC, Conte D, Mello CC, Shirayama M. Wnt and CDK-1 regulate cortical release of WRM-1/ß-catenin to control cell division orientation in early Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 5; 110(10):E918-27. PMID: 23431196.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Gu W, Lee HC, Chaves D, Youngman EM, Pazour GJ, Conte D, Mello CC. CapSeq and CIP-TAP identify Pol II start sites and reveal capped small RNAs as C. elegans piRNA precursors. Cell. 2012 Dec 21; 151(7):1488-500. PMID: 23260138.
      View in: PubMed
    15. D'Ambrogio A, Gu W, Udagawa T, Mello CC, Richter JD. Specific miRNA stabilization by Gld2-catalyzed monoadenylation. Cell Rep. 2012 Dec 27; 2(6):1537-45. PMID: 23200856.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Shirayama M, Seth M, Lee HC, Gu W, Ishidate T, Conte D, Mello CC. piRNAs initiate an epigenetic memory of nonself RNA in the C. elegans germline. Cell. 2012 Jul 6; 150(1):65-77. PMID: 22738726.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Lee HC, Gu W, Shirayama M, Youngman E, Conte D, Mello CC. C. elegans piRNAs mediate the genome-wide surveillance of germline transcripts. Cell. 2012 Jul 6; 150(1):78-87. PMID: 22738724.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Thivierge C, Makil N, Flamand M, Vasale JJ, Mello CC, Wohlschlegel J, Conte D, Duchaine TF. Tudor domain ERI-5 tethers an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase to DCR-1 to potentiate endo-RNAi. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2011 Dec 18; 19(1):90-7. PMID: 22179787.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Gu W, Claycomb JM, Batista PJ, Mello CC, Conte D. Cloning Argonaute-associated small RNAs from Caenorhabditis elegans. Methods Mol Biol. 2011; 725:251-80. PMID: 21528459.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Xie J, Xie Q, Zhang H, Ameres SL, Hung JH, Su Q, He R, Mu X, Seher Ahmed S, Park S, Kato H, Li C, Mueller C, Mello CC, Weng Z, Flotte TR, Zamore PD, Gao G. MicroRNA-regulated, systemically delivered rAAV9: a step closer to CNS-restricted transgene expression. Mol Ther. 2011 Mar; 19(3):526-35. PMID: 21179009.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Conte D, Mello CC. Primal RNAs: The end of the beginning? Cell. 2010 Feb 19; 140(4):452-4. PMID: 20178736.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Conine CC, Batista PJ, Gu W, Claycomb JM, Chaves DA, Shirayama M, Mello CC. Argonautes ALG-3 and ALG-4 are required for spermatogenesis-specific 26G-RNAs and thermotolerant sperm in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 23; 107(8):3588-93. PMID: 20133686.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Vasale JJ, Gu W, Thivierge C, Batista PJ, Claycomb JM, Youngman EM, Duchaine TF, Mello CC, Conte D. Sequential rounds of RNA-dependent RNA transcription drive endogenous small-RNA biogenesis in the ERGO-1/Argonaute pathway. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 23; 107(8):3582-7. PMID: 20133583.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Liu J, Maduzia LL, Shirayama M, Mello CC. NMY-2 maintains cellular asymmetry and cell boundaries, and promotes a SRC-dependent asymmetric cell division. Dev Biol. 2010 Mar 15; 339(2):366-73. PMID: 20059995.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Claycomb JM, Batista PJ, Pang KM, Gu W, Vasale JJ, van Wolfswinkel JC, Chaves DA, Shirayama M, Mitani S, Ketting RF, Conte D, Mello CC. The Argonaute CSR-1 and its 22G-RNA cofactors are required for holocentric chromosome segregation. Cell. 2009 Oct 2; 139(1):123-34. PMID: 19804758.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Gu W, Shirayama M, Conte D, Vasale J, Batista PJ, Claycomb JM, Moresco JJ, Youngman EM, Keys J, Stoltz MJ, Chen CC, Chaves DA, Duan S, Kasschau KD, Fahlgren N, Yates JR, Mitani S, Carrington JC, Mello CC. Distinct argonaute-mediated 22G-RNA pathways direct genome surveillance in the C. elegans germline. Mol Cell. 2009 Oct 23; 36(2):231-44. PMID: 19800275.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Batista PJ, Ruby JG, Claycomb JM, Chiang R, Fahlgren N, Kasschau KD, Chaves DA, Gu W, Vasale JJ, Duan S, Conte D, Luo S, Schroth GP, Carrington JC, Bartel DP, Mello CC. PRG-1 and 21U-RNAs interact to form the piRNA complex required for fertility in C. elegans. Mol Cell. 2008 Jul 11; 31(1):67-78. PMID: 18571452.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Mello CC. Return to the RNAi world: rethinking gene expression and evolution. Cell Death Differ. 2007 Dec; 14(12):2013-20. PMID: 18007672.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Mello CC. Return to the RNAi world: rethinking gene expression and evolution (Nobel Lecture). Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2007; 46(37):6985-94. PMID: 17712806.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Yigit E, Batista PJ, Bei Y, Pang KM, Chen CC, Tolia NH, Joshua-Tor L, Mitani S, Simard MJ, Mello CC. Analysis of the C. elegans Argonaute family reveals that distinct Argonautes act sequentially during RNAi. Cell. 2006 Nov 17; 127(4):747-57. PMID: 17110334.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Hayakawa A, Leonard D, Murphy S, Hayes S, Soto M, Fogarty K, Standley C, Bellve K, Lambright D, Mello C, Corvera S. The WD40 and FYVE domain containing protein 2 defines a class of early endosomes necessary for endocytosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Aug 8; 103(32):11928-33. PMID: 16873553.
      View in: PubMed
    32. Duchaine TF, Wohlschlegel JA, Kennedy S, Bei Y, Conte D, Pang K, Brownell DR, Harding S, Mitani S, Ruvkun G, Yates JR, Mello CC. Functional proteomics reveals the biochemical niche of C. elegans DCR-1 in multiple small-RNA-mediated pathways. Cell. 2006 Jan 27; 124(2):343-54. PMID: 16439208.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Shirayama M, Soto MC, Ishidate T, Kim S, Nakamura K, Bei Y, van den Heuvel S, Mello CC. The Conserved Kinases CDK-1, GSK-3, KIN-19, and MBK-2 Promote OMA-1 Destruction to Regulate the Oocyte-to-Embryo Transition in C. elegans. Curr Biol. 2006 Jan 10; 16(1):47-55. PMID: 16343905.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Nakamura K, Kim S, Ishidate T, Bei Y, Pang K, Shirayama M, Trzepacz C, Brownell DR, Mello CC. Wnt signaling drives WRM-1/beta-catenin asymmetries in early C. elegans embryos. Genes Dev. 2005 Aug 1; 19(15):1749-54. PMID: 16077004.
      View in: PubMed
    35. Wang D, Kennedy S, Conte D, Kim JK, Gabel HW, Kamath RS, Mello CC, Ruvkun G. Somatic misexpression of germline P granules and enhanced RNA interference in retinoblastoma pathway mutants. Nature. 2005 Jul 28; 436(7050):593-7. PMID: 16049496.
      View in: PubMed
    36. Chen CC, Simard MJ, Tabara H, Brownell DR, McCollough JA, Mello CC. A member of the polymerase beta nucleotidyltransferase superfamily is required for RNA interference in C. elegans. Curr Biol. 2005 Feb 22; 15(4):378-83. PMID: 15723801.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Grigorenko AP, Moliaka YK, Soto MC, Mello CC, Rogaev EI. The Caenorhabditis elegans IMPAS gene, imp-2, is essential for development and is functionally distinct from related presenilins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Oct 12; 101(41):14955-60. PMID: 15469912.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Mello CC, Conte D. Revealing the world of RNA interference. Nature. 2004 Sep 16; 431(7006):338-42. PMID: 15372040.
      View in: PubMed
    39. Hutvágner G, Simard MJ, Mello CC, Zamore PD. Sequence-specific inhibition of small RNA function. PLoS Biol. 2004 Apr; 2(4):E98. PMID: 15024405.
      View in: PubMed
    40. Pang KM, Ishidate T, Nakamura K, Shirayama M, Trzepacz C, Schubert CM, Priess JR, Mello CC. The minibrain kinase homolog, mbk-2, is required for spindle positioning and asymmetric cell division in early C. elegans embryos. Dev Biol. 2004 Jan 1; 265(1):127-39. PMID: 14697358.
      View in: PubMed
    41. Venkatesan K, McManus HR, Mello CC, Smith TF, Hansen U. Functional conservation between members of an ancient duplicated transcription factor family, LSF/Grainyhead. Nucleic Acids Res. 2003 Aug 1; 31(15):4304-16. PMID: 12888489.
      View in: PubMed
    42. Conte D, Mello CC. RNA interference in Caenorhabditis elegans. Curr Protoc Mol Biol. 2003 May; Chapter 26:Unit 26.3. PMID: 18265327.
      View in: PubMed
    43. Unhavaithaya Y, Shin TH, Miliaras N, Lee J, Oyama T, Mello CC. MEP-1 and a homolog of the NURD complex component Mi-2 act together to maintain germline-soma distinctions in C. elegans. Cell. 2002 Dec 27; 111(7):991-1002. PMID: 12507426.
      View in: PubMed
    44. Bei Y, Hogan J, Berkowitz LA, Soto M, Rocheleau CE, Pang KM, Collins J, Mello CC. SRC-1 and Wnt signaling act together to specify endoderm and to control cleavage orientation in early C. elegans embryos. Dev Cell. 2002 Jul; 3(1):113-25. PMID: 12110172.
      View in: PubMed
    45. Tabara H, Yigit E, Siomi H, Mello CC. The dsRNA binding protein RDE-4 interacts with RDE-1, DCR-1, and a DExH-box helicase to direct RNAi in C. elegans. Cell. 2002 Jun 28; 109(7):861-71. PMID: 12110183.
      View in: PubMed
    46. Soto MC, Qadota H, Kasuya K, Inoue M, Tsuboi D, Mello CC, Kaibuchi K. The GEX-2 and GEX-3 proteins are required for tissue morphogenesis and cell migrations in C. elegans. Genes Dev. 2002 Mar 1; 16(5):620-32. PMID: 11877381.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Grishok A, Mello CC. RNAi (Nematodes: Caenorhabditis elegans). Adv Genet. 2002; 46:339-60. PMID: 11931230.
      View in: PubMed
    48. Grishok A, Pasquinelli AE, Conte D, Li N, Parrish S, Ha I, Baillie DL, Fire A, Ruvkun G, Mello CC. Genes and mechanisms related to RNA interference regulate expression of the small temporal RNAs that control C. elegans developmental timing. Cell. 2001 Jul 13; 106(1):23-34. PMID: 11461699.
      View in: PubMed
    49. Grishok A, Tabara H, Mello CC. Genetic requirements for inheritance of RNAi in C. elegans. Science. 2000 Mar 31; 287(5462):2494-7. PMID: 10741970.
      View in: PubMed
    50. Tabara H, Sarkissian M, Kelly WG, Fleenor J, Grishok A, Timmons L, Fire A, Mello CC. The rde-1 gene, RNA interference, and transposon silencing in C. elegans. Cell. 1999 Oct 15; 99(2):123-32. PMID: 10535731.
      View in: PubMed
    51. Shin TH, Yasuda J, Rocheleau CE, Lin R, Soto M, Bei Y, Davis RJ, Mello CC. MOM-4, a MAP kinase kinase kinase-related protein, activates WRM-1/LIT-1 kinase to transduce anterior/posterior polarity signals in C. elegans. Mol Cell. 1999 Aug; 4(2):275-80. PMID: 10488343.
      View in: PubMed
    52. Rocheleau CE, Yasuda J, Shin TH, Lin R, Sawa H, Okano H, Priess JR, Davis RJ, Mello CC. WRM-1 activates the LIT-1 protein kinase to transduce anterior/posterior polarity signals in C. elegans. Cell. 1999 Jun 11; 97(6):717-26. PMID: 10380924.
      View in: PubMed
    53. Tabara H, Grishok A, Mello CC. RNAi in C. elegans: soaking in the genome sequence. Science. 1998 Oct 16; 282(5388):430-1. PMID: 9841401.
      View in: PubMed
    54. Fire A, Xu S, Montgomery MK, Kostas SA, Driver SE, Mello CC. Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature. 1998 Feb 19; 391(6669):806-11. PMID: 9486653.
      View in: PubMed
    55. Rocheleau CE, Downs WD, Lin R, Wittmann C, Bei Y, Cha YH, Ali M, Priess JR, Mello CC. Wnt signaling and an APC-related gene specify endoderm in early C. elegans embryos. Cell. 1997 Aug 22; 90(4):707-16. PMID: 9288750.
      View in: PubMed
    56. Mello CC, Schubert C, Draper B, Zhang W, Lobel R, Priess JR. The PIE-1 protein and germline specification in C. elegans embryos. Nature. 1996 Aug 22; 382(6593):710-2. PMID: 8751440.
      View in: PubMed
    57. Seydoux G, Mello CC, Pettitt J, Wood WB, Priess JR, Fire A. Repression of gene expression in the embryonic germ lineage of C. elegans. Nature. 1996 Aug 22; 382(6593):713-6. PMID: 8751441.
      View in: PubMed
    58. Mello C, Fire A. DNA transformation. Methods Cell Biol. 1995; 48:451-82. PMID: 8531738.
      View in: PubMed
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