Piero Carninci


Born and educated in Italy Piero Carninci obtained his doctoral degree at the University of Trieste in 1989. From 1990 to 1995 he developed technologies for DNA extraction and DNA sequencing at Talent, a spin-off biotech. He moved to Japan in 1995 at RIKEN, Tsukuba Life Science center and became tenure researcher in 1997. He has been developing technologies to capture full-length cDNAs, which were used for the construction of the Fantom projects.

From 2008 he is a Team and Unit Leader and a Deputy Project Director at the RIKEN Omics Science Center in Yokohama. He has developed technologies to analyze the transcribed part of the genome (transcriptome), such as the cap-trapper, to isolate full-length cDNAs and the cap-analysis gene expression (CAGE), which allows profiling gene expression simultaneously mapping their promoters and regulatory elements. These technologies have been broadly used in the RIKEN Fantom project and allowed identifying non-coding RNAs as are the major output of the mammalian genome and providing comprehensive maps of the mammalian promoters.

His groups also applied these technologies to the ENCODE project, revealing that the majority of the human genome has some biochemical function. Additionally he developed a miniaturization of CAGE, called nanoCAGE, in order to approach biological problems that for which there is limited amount of starting material. These technologies are broadly used to characterize the transcriptome of human and model organisms. His laboratory is interested in developing the next generation of technologies to understand the function of non-coding RNAs. He has published more than 200 papers, which have been cited more than 20,000 times, and is a member of editorial boards of various scientific journals.

Centers and labs at RIKEN