HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.

2nd Edition of Virology World Conference

21-22, 2023

June 21 -22, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Silvi Rouskin

Speaker at Virology World Conference 2023 - Silvi Rouskin
Harvard Medical School, United States
Title : Viral RNA structures as regulators of gene expression and therapeutic targets


RNA viruses are a highly diverse and abundant group of pathogens responsible for a wide range of human ailments, from the common cold to serious and even fatal diseases, such as AIDS, SARS, and Ebola. Despite their relatively compact genomes, RNA viruses have evolved a variety of mechanisms to maximize their coding capacity, including alternative splicing and ribosomal frameshifting. These mechanisms involve the folding of RNA into three-dimensional structures that enable the recruitment of ribosomes without initiation factors and the hijacking of host proteins. In addition, these structures can cause ribosomes to frameshift, and expose or occlude regulatory protein binding motifs, thereby controlling key processes in the viral life cycle.  I will discuss new methods developed in my lab to measure alternative RNA structures in cells and our latest findings on unconventional mechanisms of gene expression in coronaviruses.

Audience take away:

  • Methods to determine the RNA structure of viruses in cells
  • Advance RNA research
  • Improve design of RNA therapeutic


Silvi Rouskin is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology at Harvard Medical School. Born in Bulgaria in a family of rock musicians, Silvi immigrated to the USA by herself to pursue a career in science at the age of 15. She obtained her PhD at University of California San Francisco, in the lab of Jonathan Weissman, where she pioneered a high-throughput approach to measure RNA structure in cells. After graduating, she started her own lab as a Whitehead Institute Fellow at MIT, and her lab established experimental and computational approaches that revealed genome-wide RNA structure heterogeneity of HIV-1 with functional impacts on alternative splicing. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rouskin lab determined the genomic structure of SARS-CoV2 in infected cells and identified alternative structures important for ribosomal frameshifting. Silvi has been awarded the NIH New Innovator Award, the Smith Family Award, the Burroughs Welcome Fund, and the 2021 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science.