Daniela C Zarnescu, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Associate Professor, Neurobiology
Associate Professor, Neurology
Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Associate Professor, Applied BioSciences - GIDP
Associate Professor, Genetics - GIDP
Associate Professor, Neuroscience - GIDP
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-1478
Professional Bio: 

Research in Dr. Zarnescu's laboratory is aimed at elucidating RNA based mechanisms in cell polarity, development and aging as well as to develop therapeutic approaches for diseases linked to RNA dysregulation, including cancer. Studies in her laboratory are focused on elucidating the function of RNA binding proteins including Fragile X, TDP-43 and binding partners. They are taking an interdisciplinary approach in Drosophila and cultured cells to study the mechanisms by which these RNA binding proteins, their RNA targets and binding partners are involved in disease.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Biology
Member Status: 
Research Member
Selected Publications: 

Dr. Zarnescu's NCBI bibliography

  1. Zarnescu DC, Gregorio CC. Fragile hearts: new insights into translational control in cardiac muscle. Trends Cardiovasc. Med. 2013;23:275–281.
  2. Estes PS, Daniel SG, McCallum AP, Boehringer AV, Sukhina AS, Zwick RA, Zarnescu DC. Motor neurons and glia exhibit specific individualized responses to TDP-43 expression in a Drosophila model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dis. Model. Mech. 2013;6:721–733.
  3. Callan MA, Clements N, Ahrendt N, Zarnescu DC. Fragile X Protein is required for inhibition of insulin signaling and regulates glial-dependent neuroblast reactivation in the developing brain. Brain Res. 2012;1462:151–161.
  4. Whitman SA, Cover C, Yu L, Nelson DL, Zarnescu DC, Gregorio CC. Desmoplakin and talin2 are novel mRNA targets of fragile X-related protein-1 in cardiac muscle. Circ. Res. 2011;109:262–271.
  5. Estes PS, Boehringer A, Zwick R, Tang JE, Grigsby B, Zarnescu DC. Wild-type and A315T mutant TDP-43 exert differential neurotoxicity in a Drosophila model of ALS. Hum. Mol. Genet. 2011;20:2308–2321.
  6. Callan MA, Zarnescu DC. Heads-up: new roles for the fragile X mental retardation protein in neural stem and progenitor cells. Genes. N. Y. N 2000. 2011;49:424–440.
  7. Callan MA, Cabernard C, Heck J, Luois S, Doe CQ, Zarnescu DC. Fragile X protein controls neural stem cell proliferation in the Drosophila brain. Hum. Mol. Genet. 2010;19:3068–3079.
  8. Lee H-G, Zarnescu DC, MacIver B, Thomas GH. The cell adhesion molecule Roughest depends on beta(Heavy)-spectrin during eye morphogenesis in Drosophila. J. Cell Sci. 2010;123:277–285.
  9. Zarnescu DC, Zinsmaier KE. Ferrying wingless across the synaptic cleft. Cell. 2009;139:229–231.
  10. Epstein AM, Bauer CR, Ho A, Bosco G, Zarnescu DC. Drosophila Fragile X protein controls cellular proliferation by regulating cbl levels in the ovary. Dev. Biol. 2009;330:83–92.

Academic Information

Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Undergraduate School: 
BS, Physics, University of Bucharest, Romania