Hannon Laboratory

About our lab

After more than 20 years at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, the Hannon Lab has relocated to the CRUK Cambridge Institute.

Our attention has historically been focused on four major areas. First, we have worked for the past 15 years on understanding the biological functions of non-coding RNAs and the mechanisms by which these RNAs act. Most recently, we have worked extensively on a small RNA based innate immune system, the piRNA pathway, and its role in protecting germline integrity in animals. Secondly, we attempt to tackle critical problems in cancer biology, with a major focus on breast and pancreatic cancer. We use mouse models, human tissues, and innovative approaches to understand aspects of disease ranging from the genetics of early, non-invasive cancers to critical pathways driving metastasis. We also work to understand the roles of long non-coding RNAs in normal development and how their functions might be disrupted in cancer. Building from our observations that small RNAs direct DNA methylation during germ cell development in animals, we have developed a broader interest in epigenetic regulation, both in normal cell and in cancer. Finally, have a long history of technological innovation, having developed approaches such as short hairpin RNAs (shRNA) and exome capture. Current technology development is occurring in several areas including mining information inherent in tumor heterogeneity, optimization of crispr-based strategies, and building general platforms for control of biological processes by light.