Decorating RNA
for a purpose

Chemical modifications of RNAs allow the dynamic adaptation of organisms to respond to developmental or environmental changes.


At SFB (F80), RNA-DECO 12 research groups in Austria comprising of biochemists, biologists and bioinformaticians jointly aim at understanding the impact of chemical modifications on:

Structure & Function of specific RNAs using different models.

RNA modifications affect


Scientific Advisory Board


October 05 2020

Os­mium is key to shed light on genome organi­zation

Researchers at the University of Innsbruck and the Vienna BioCenter have developed a new method that analyzes the spatial organization of chromatin in a cell. Their recent article in Nature demonstrates how the two replicated sister DNA molecules can be mapped in each chromosome using chemical labeling and nucleoside conversion.

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October 02 2020

1st Annual SFB RNA DECO Retreat

The 1st SFB RNA DECO annual retreat took place at Schlosshotel Mondsee in Salzburg on the 7th & 8th of September providing an overview of current research in the field of RNA especially chemical modifications of RNA.
20200908 115610

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July 10 2020

FWF establishes new specialist research area for RNA modifications

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is establishing a new specialist research area called RNA-DECO. Over the next four years, total funding of over €4 million will be provided to fund a total of 12 research groups, who will study the chemical modification of ribonucleic acid (RNA). Five of these research groups (Walter Rossmanith, Matthias Schäfer, Elisa Vilardo, Javier Martinez, Michael Jantsch) are based at MedUni Vienna. Overall project leader is Michael Jantsch, Head of MedUni Vienna’s Centre for Anatomy and Cell Biology.

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Amine-to-Azide Conversion on Native RNA via Metal-Free Diazotransfer Opens New Avenues for RNA Manipulations

Dr. Olga A. Krasheninina Julia Thaler Prof. Dr. Matthias D. Erlacher Prof. Dr. Ronald Micura

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Volume60, Issue13

Zebrafish Ski7 tunes RNA levels during the oocyte-to-embryo transition

Luis Enrique Cabrera-Quio,Alexander Schleiffer,Karl Mechtler,Andrea Pauli

PLoS Genet 17(2): e1009390. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009390

Conformation of sister chromatids in the replicated human genome

Michael Mitter, Catherina Gasser, Zsuzsanna Takacs, Christoph C. H. Langer, Wen Tang, Gregor Jessberger, Charlie T. Beales, Eva Neuner,Stefan L. Ameres, Jan-Michael Peters, Anton Goloborodko, Ronald Micura & Daniel W. Gerlich

Nature volume 586, pages139–144(2020

Open Positions

Open Master Position • open since May 06 2021

Master thesis in RNA modification biology

Elisa Vilardo, Ph.D.
Center for Anatomy & Cell Biology
Schwarzspanierstrasse 17 • A-1090 Wien • AUSTRIA
Phone +43 1 40160 37724
Fax +43 1 40160 937500

To date, more than 150 natural RNA modifications have been identified. However, the function and interplay among RNA modifications remains enigmatic.
The Vilardo lab investigates RNA modifications in tRNAs, the key adaptor molecules between gene expression and protein translation. We use biochemistry, genome editing by Crispr/Cas9, and Next Generation Sequencing to investigate tRNA modifications and the enzymatic pathways responsible for modifications.
As part of the special research focus program RNA-Deco, we collaborate within a network of top RNA research laboratories across Austria.

If you are a highly motivated student in biology, biotechnology or similar subjects, and are interested to join our group at the Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology of the Medical University of Vienna, please send curriculum vitae,
motivation letter and a recommendation letter to:

Open Coordination Postion • open since May 04 2021

Coordination of a Special Research Programme

Michael Jantsch
Medical University of Vienna
Center for Anatomy & Cell Biology
Schwarzpanierstrasse 17
1090 Vienna

The SFB 80 RNA-DECO (www.rna-deco.org) is looking for part-time support to coordinate the special research program on RNA modifications.
The coordination position will:

  • Coordinate joint activities of 12 research groups from the Vienna and Innsbruck areas
  • organize retreats and seminars with the participating research groups
  • organize scientific meetings
  • administer and optimize internal and external communication
  • maintain the web page and other outreach activities
  • help with advertising and hiring personnel
  • organize the purchasing of research equipment
  • administer the project reporting and follow-up application

The qualified person should be trained in the sciences (Masters or Ph.D.), be fluent in English (written and spoken), and have proficient communication skills in German. Administrational skills are required.
Salary will be according to your qualifications following FWF schemes (a combination with lab-related work is possible)
The position is located at the Center of Anatomy & Cell Biology of the Medical University of Vienna (1090 Vienna).

The position is open immediately and runs until March 2024 with the option of a four-year extension.

If interested please contact: Greeshma.Manjaly@meduniwien and Michael.Jantsch@meduniwien.ac.at no later than May 15th.

Open PhD Position - Jantsch Lab • open since January 25 2021

PhD position on RNA modifications and innate immune sensing

Michael Jantsch
Medical University of Vienna
Center for Anatomy & Cell Biology
Schwarzpanierstrasse 17
1090 Vienna

An EU-funded Ph.D. position is available in the lab of Michael Jantsch. The international training network (ITN) consists of a multinational team studying RNA modifications in a multidisciplinary approach. Secondments allow diverse training and research experiences at a competitive salary including family allowance.
The lab of Michael Jantsch studies adenosine deamination in mice which is one of the most abundant RNA modifications in mammals. Deamination of adenosines (A) leads to the formation of inosines (I). Inosines are interpreted as guanosines by most cellular machineries, including translation.
A to I editing is mediated by two enzymes, ADAR1 or ADAR2. While ADAR2 is mainly responsible for editing events that alter the coding of mRNAs or the function of small RNAs, ADAR1 acts as an antiviral protein. Interestingly, loss of ADAR1 leads to elevated interferon signaling and upregulation of the antiviral signals.
It will be the aim of this Ph.D. project to decipher the signals that trigger antiviral responses and to determine how the introduction of inosines prevents antiviral signaling (Fig 1).
Figure 1: Sensing of dsRNA by antiviral immune proteins. In the absence of A to I editing, dsRNA activates antiviral signaling by recruiting and activating the MDA5-MAVS signaling pathways. In the presence of inosines this pathway is suppressed. Currently, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood.

The Division of Cell & Developmental Biology provides a stimulating atmosphere for RNA research with five research groups working on RNA modifications. The team is tightly linked to other Austrian RNA researchers via an RNA research network. The Division of Cell & Developmental Biology is located near the center of historic Vienna.

Interested candidates, please send their application including a curriculum vitae, a letter of motivation and two contacts for references to
Michael.Jantsch@meduniwien.ac.at under the reference “ROPES
until March 30th 2021
For further information please visit:
ROPES: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/956810/de