Penalva Lab

Luiz O.F. Penalva, PhD

Dr. Penalva and staff

Rank: Professor
Department: Cell Systems & Anatomy
Office: 3.100.10
Tel: 210-562-9049

Major components of my research program include:

  • Screening and characterization of RBPs and miRNAs implicated in neuronal stem cell function and brain tumors.
  • Construction of regulatory maps for neuronal differentiation and brain tumor development.
  • Development and improvement of computational and functional methods for miRNA/RBP target identification and functional outcome.
  • Development of RNA based approaches for therapy.
UT Health San Antonio, Faculty Profile: Luiz O.F. Penalva, PhD



Selected Publications:

Proneural and mesenchymal glioma stem cells display major differences in splicing and lncRNA profiles.
Guardia GDA, Correa BR, Araujo PR, Qiao M, Burns S, Penalva LOF*, Galante PAF*.
NPJ Genom Med. 2020 Jan 16;5:2. doi: 10.1038/s41525-019-0108-5. eCollection 2020.
PMID:31969990 * co-corresponding authors

Zika Virus Targets Glioblastoma Stem Cells through a SOX2-Integrin αvβ5 Axis.
Zhu Z, Mesci P, Bernatchez JA, Gimple RC, Wang X, Schafer ST, Wettersten HI, Beck S, Clark AE, Wu Q, Prager BC, Kim LJY, Dhanwani R, Sharma S, Garancher A, Weis SM, Mack SC, Negraes PD, Trujillo CA, Penalva LO, Feng J, Lan Z, Zhang R, Wessel AW, Dhawan S, Diamond MS, Chen CC, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Gage FH, Hu H, Siqueira-Neto JL, Muotri AR, Cheresh DA, Rich JN.
Cell Stem Cell. 2019 Dec 31. pii: S1934-5909(19)30471-0. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2019.11.016.

ELF4 Is a Target of miR-124 and Promotes Neuroblastoma Proliferation and Undifferentiated State.
Kosti A, Du L, Shivram H, Qiao M, Burns S, Garcia JG, Pertsemlidis A, Iyer VR, Kokovay E, Penalva LOF.
Mol Cancer Res. 2020 Jan;18(1):68-78. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-19-0187.

The Diverse Roles of RNA-Binding Proteins in Glioma Development.
Velasco MX, Kosti A, Penalva LOF*, Hernández G*.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1157:29-39. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-19966-1_2.
PMID: 31342436   * co-corresponding authors

Antagonism between the RNA-binding protein Musashi1 and miR-137 and its potential impact on neurogenesis and glioblastoma development.
Velasco MX, Kosti A, Guardia GDA, Santos MC, Tegge A, Qiao M, Corre BRS, Hernández G, Kokovay E, Galante PAF, Penalva LOF.
RNA. 2019 Jul;25(7):768-782. doi: 10.1261/rna.069211.118.
PMID: 31004009

Additional Recent Publications

Lab Research


RNA biology, genomics, RNA binding proteins, miRNAs, alternative splicing, translation, brain tumors


RNA binding proteins (RBPs) and miRNAs play significant roles in gene expression by controlling all stages of mRNA processing, its transport, localization, decay, and translation. My laboratory studies these two regulators from a global perspective. We use a combination of genomics, systems biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and molecular biology to investigate the networks formed by RNA binding proteins, miRNAs and their target genes and evaluate their impact on biological processes, cancer, and disease states. I am particularly interested in the neuronal tissue and the analysis of gene regulators implicated in both differentiation and brain tumor development.


  1. Musashi1 in brain tumor development
  2. miRNAs in neurogenesis and brain tumor development
  3. Alternative splicing and translation regulation 
  4. Understanding the dynamics of translation regulation

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