Iris Tanaka

Post Doc

Research Lines

Genomic Science




Via Adamello, 16

Social profiles




2019 : PhD in molecular and cellular aspects of cancer biology
Paris-Saclay University (Orsay, France)

2014 : Master of Science in integrative biology and physiology
Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris, France)

2012 : Bachelor of Engineering in applied chemistry
Keio University (Yagami, Japan)


Research Experience

08/2019 – Present : Post-doctoral position in Dr. M. Pelizzola team at CGS@IIT (Milan, Italy)
Epitranscriptional dynamics of MYC-driven genes

10/2014 – 01/2019 : PhD in cancer biology in Dr. S. Vagner team at the Institut Curie (Orsay, France)
Regulation of alternative splicing and polyadenylation by genotoxic anti-cancer agents

01/2014 – 06/2014 : Master’s internship in Dr. R.B. Clarke team at Manchester University (Manchester, UK)
Role of Wnt signaling and stem cells in endocrine-resistant breast cancer

04/2013 – 09/2013 : Master’s internship in Prof. I. Limon team at Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, France)
Adenylate cyclase 8 expression during trans-differenciation of vascular smooth muscle cells

04/2011 – 03/2012 : Bachelor’s research project in Prof. K. Umezawa team at Keio University (Yagami, Japan)
Identification of target proteins of deoxyspergualin, a potent immunosuppressive agent


Epitranscriptional dynamics of MYC-driven genes

The MYC transcription factor is a key player in oncogenic transcription programs. So far, the study of MYC-driven gene expression programs neglected that RNA abundance and its variation are determined by the kinetic rates of three steps, which collectively shape the dynamics of the RNA life cycle: RNA synthesis, processing, and degradation.
Recently, the lab pioneered the development of novel methods to study RNA dynamics, based on RNA metabolic labeling and mathematical modeling and showed that the acute modulation of MYC has broad consequences on all stages of the RNA and life cycle.

The fate of thousands of mRNAs in eukaryotic cells is markedly influenced by the presence of multiple epitranscriptional modifications, the most abundant being the N6-methyladenosine (m6A). While it has been recently shown that the m6A machinery interacts with the epigenome and the transcriptional machinery, it is currently unclear if the m6A epitranscriptome is important for the establishment of gene expression programs driven by specific transcription factors such as MYC.

I am particularly interested in studying the interplay between the m6A machinery and the dynamics of MYC-driven genes in breast cancer. Indeed, MYC amplification is associated with high-grade tumours and triple-negative breast cancer. The epitranscriptome is also heavily altered in those breast cancer types. Understanding the relationship between the methylation and the life-cycle of specific transcripts could shed light on unsuspected molecular mechanisms in these hard to treat breast cancer subtypes.

Selected Publications

Tanaka I, Chakraborty A, Saulnier O, et al. ZRANB2 and SYF2-mediated splicing programs converging on ECT2 are involved in breast cancer cell resistance to doxorubicin. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020;48(5):2676-2693. doi:10.1093/nar/gkz1213