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William Diehl, PhD, postdoc

        William Diehl, PhD

What is your role at UMMS and how does it support the overall institution?
I am a postdoctoral fellow in Jeremy Luban’s lab. This is a somewhat in-between role for the university as I both plan and conduct extensive bench research, but I also act as a mentor for grad students, other postdocs and research support staff.

What part of your job brings you the greatest satisfaction?
It is hard to pick a single aspect of my job that brings me the biggest satisfaction. The few things that I find the most satisfying in what I do include: 1) obviously doing the experiments and being able to find something that nobody else has observed; 2) passing on some of the knowledge I have accumulated by being in the lab for ~15 years to others in the lab; and 3) being humbled by the complexity of biology (although usually this process includes finding that my/our starting hypotheses were completely wrong).

What drew you to UMMS?
UMMS is like a hidden gem: other in state institutions get much more press, but there is quite the group of scientific rock stars here churning out hit after hit to much less fanfare. That is changing to a certain extent with the great success of the RNA Therapeutics Institute that is considered one of the top places in studying RNA biology worldwide. My current studies with the Luban lab are exploring potential functions that a group of endogenous retroviruses may have in maintaining the pluripotent state of stem cells. Many, including ourselves, believe that these may be acting as long non-coding RNAs and having the technical expertise in RNA biology on campus could be highly beneficial in exploring this problem.