Decorating RNA
for a purpose

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

funded by FWF — Der Wissenschaftsfonts


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 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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July 07 2020

Sabrina Summer defended her Ph.D. thesis successfully!

Sabrina Summer from Walter Rossmanith’s lab successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis on “YBEY is an essential biogenesis factor for mitochondrial ribosomes”.

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Initiation at AUGUG and GUGUG sequences can lead to translation of overlapping reading frames in E. coli

Maximilian P. Kohl, Maria Kompatscher, Nina Clementi, Lena Holl and Matthias D. Erlacher

Nucleic Acids Research 51 (1): 271–289 (2023)

A systematic dissection of determinants and consequences of snoRNA-guided pseudouridylation of human mRNA

Nir, R., Hoernes, T. P., Muramatsu, H., Faserl, K., Karikó, K., Erlacher, M. D., Sas-Chen, A., Schwartz, S.

Nucleic Acids Research 50 (9): 4900-4916 (2022)

SLAMseq resolves the kinetics of maternal and zygotic gene expression in early zebrafish embryogenesis

Pooja Bhat, Luis E. Cabrera-Quio, Veronika A. Herzog, Nina Fasching, Andrea Pauli and Stefan L. Ameres

bioRxiv (2022) [preprint]

Open Positions

Research technician position • open since November 08 2022

Research technician position in RNA modification biology

Medical University of Vienna
Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology
Elisa Vilardo, Ph.D.
Schwarzspanierstr. 17, A-1090 Vienna
Tel.: +43 1 40160 37724
E-mail: elisa.vilardo@meduniwien.ac.at
Group Vilardo

The group of Elisa Vilardo at the Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology is recruiting a Technical Assistant. The group works on the biology of tRNA modification, its impact on cell physiology and its implication in human disease. The projects involve the use of a diverse array of techniques, including tissue culture, molecular biology and biochemistry. We offer a young and international working environment within the frame of the Medical University of Vienna, located at the very heart of the city.
The ideal candidate will have a degree in biology, chemistry or related fields, and will be highly motivated to perform research in the life-sciences with the highest standards. Previous experience in cell and molecular biology is welcome, although further training will be provided in house as needed for the projects. The working language at the institute is English; knowledge of German will be of advantage.

The perspective start date is December 1st 2022.

If you are interested, please send a cover letter, CV, and two reference letters to elisa.vilardo@meduniwien.ac.at
Vilardo Tech ad

Master Thesis • open since November 08 2022

Master thesis in RNA modification biology

Medical University of Vienna
Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology
Elisa Vilardo, Ph.D.
Schwarzspanierstr. 17, A-1090 Vienna
Tel.: +43 1 40160 37724
E-mail: elisa.vilardo@meduniwien.ac.at
Group Vilardo

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:
Vilardo Master ad

Master Thesis • open since October 04 2022

Master Thesis Project on "Why do chloroplasts recruit RNA processing factors to deal with protein quality control?"

Prof. Silvia Ramundo
Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Bohr-Gasse 3
1030 Vienna, Austria
Email: silvia.ramundo@gmi.oeaw.ac.at
Group Ramundo

Prof. Javier Martinez
Max Perutz Labs
Vienna BioCenter
Dr.-Bohr-Gasse 9
1030 Vienna, Austria
Email: javier.martinez@meduniwien.ac.at
Group Martinez

This Fall, at the Vienna BioCenter, Silvia Ramundo (GMI) and Javier Martinez (Max Perutz Labs) offer an exciting project for your Master Thesis:
“Why do chloroplasts recruit RNA processing factors to deal with protein quality control?”
About the Ramundo and Martinez Labs:
The Ramundo Lab investigates the chloroplast unfolded protein response (cpUPR). This signaling pathway allows photosynthetic eukaryotes to sense the accumulation of damaged proteins in their chloroplasts and mitigate the resulting stress by reprogramming nuclear gene expression.
The Martinez Lab studies the conversion of precursor RNAs into mature, functional RNAs. This process entails phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of RNA termini, the ligation of RNA exons during pre-tRNA splicing and the “unconventional” cytoplasmic splicing of the Xbp1-mRNA to encode a critical transcription factor for the orchestration of the UPR.
About the position and the research project:
You will characterize the function of RNA processing factors during the chloroplast UPR in the single-celled organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. You will have the opportunity to master state-of-art techniques in molecular biology and biochemistry and develop critical thinking in a creative Lab atmosphere within the vibrant Vienna BioCenter.
Please apply if you love gene expression and RNA Biology! We are looking for bright and energetic students with a passion for science and good organizational skills. A substantial experience at the bench is highly preferred (but not strictly required).
Please get in touch with us by November 30th enclosing a CV and a short motivation letter. We will conduct interviews during December.
Silvia Ramundo, Group Leader silvia.ramundo@gmi.oeaw.ac.at
Javier Martinez, Group Leader javier.martinez@meduniwien.ac.at
About the Max Perutz Labs and the Gregor Mendel Institute:
The Max Perutz Labs a joint venture between the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, aims to achieve a deep mechanistic understanding of fundamental biomedical processes and to provide an excellent education in molecular biology.
The Gregor Mendel Institute is an international research institute founded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Its main goal is to promote excellent curiosity-driven research within the field of plant molecular biology.
Both Institutes are located at the Vienna BioCenter, one of Europe’s hotspots for Life Sciences.
Master Thesis Position Ramundo/Martinez