Transcription underpins all life. Indeed, all cellular processes are regulated at the level of gene expression. Until recently, transcription was thought to be regulated at initiation only, after which transcript elongation proceeds in a monotonous fashion across genes. Elongation was regarded as uninteresting from the standpoint of cell physiology. Jesper Svejstrup has helped transform this view, by showing that transcript elongation is complex, highly regulated, and subject to stress, but also that it has critical interfaces with other cellular reactions, as well as multiple connections to diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders.
Nevertheless, due to the complexity of the processes involved, transcript elongation and its interface to fundamental biological processes such as mRNA splicing, DNA replication, recombination, and repair has only just begun to be studied; only recently has our knowledge of the individual processes thus reached a level where their interrelationships are ripe for study. Many ground-breaking remain to be made in this burgeoning field. The Svejstrup laboratory will address fundamental ‘textbook’ issues and aspire to perform research with the right balance between high-risk and high-gain to continuously optimize the chances for making pioneering research discoveries in their field of study. To achieve their goals, the Svejstrup laboratory utilizes novel cellular and molecular techniques that underpin a cell-, genome- and proteome-wide understanding of transcription-associated processes. They will remain at the forefront of using genetic, cell biological, biochemical and modern ‘omic’ approaches to achieve a comprehensive understanding of transcription and its interface with other molecular processes in human cells.