mRNA and COVID-19: How an essential molecule was used to combat a global pandemic

Tattered Cover is honored to begin a partnership with the Office of Research Education, home of 13 Biomedical PhD programs at the CU School of Medicine, to present a monthly series of talks about the basic science underlying many current books at Tattered Cover.  The first event will be an informational presentation called "mRNA and COVID-19: How an essential molecule was used to combat a global pandemic." The speakers are members of PhD programs at the CU School of Medicine and the CU RNA Bioscience Initiative. This free event will take place at our Colfax location on September 14th at 6pm. No registration is required.


Olivia Rissland, PhD, is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and a core member of the CU School of Medicine RNA Bioscience Initiative (RBI). The over-arching goal of Dr. Rissland’s research is to decipher the connections between translation and mRNA decay. Her lab uses a combination of classical molecular biology techniques and transcriptome-wide approaches to understand the fundamental mechanisms that control gene expression and to explore how these pathways are mis-regulated in disease. She has more than published 26 research articles on these and other topics related to RNA Biology. Notably, Dr Rissland is a former Rhodes Scholar, attending Oxford University for her doctoral studies. Dr. Rissland is funded in part by a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award, given in support of “early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.” She was recruited to Colorado from the University of Toronto in 2017. Visit the Rissland Lab website for more information.

Deviyani Rao has researched multiple branches of biology, including breast cancer, where she discovered a novel signaling pathway that altered the fields’ understanding of how certain breast cancer cells grow. She is currently a Molecular Biology PhD student in the Rissland Lab where she studies RNA and translation in the unique pathogen Giardia lamblia. She received her Bachelor of the Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Her research is funded by a National Institute of General Medical Sciences T32 training grant, and she received an Honorable Mention on her application to the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Notably, Ms. Rao is Vice-President of Project Bridge Colorado, an organization whose goal is to “bridge the gap” between local scientists and their communities.


The mission of the RNA Bioscience Initiative (RBI) is to cultivate a vibrant center of discovery and innovation in RNA biology, informatics, diagnostics, and therapy. Our goal is to provide a fluid pipeline from basic to clinical RNA research at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Learn more with these Fast Facts videos provided by RBI.

Event Location: 
Colfax Avenue