Joshua Rosenthal








Joshua Rosenthal
Senior Scientist
Email Joshua Rosenthal
Phone: (508) 289-7253

Haverford College, B.A. Biology
Stanford University, Ph.D. Biology

Current Projects:
High level Recoding by RNA editing in Cephalopods
Site-Directed RNA Editing
Marine Model Organism Development
Structural and functional connectivity of squid chromatophores

Cephalopod Operations:
Bret Grasse, Manager
Taylor Sakmar, Cephalopod Culture Specialist
Danielle Dallis, Cephalopod Culture Operations Specialist

Job Opportunities:
Check back for updates!

Full Publication List

Research Statement: The central dogma of biology is that genetic information passes faithfully from DNA to RNA before being decoded into proteins. This information can be manipulated at any stage. When done in DNA, the changes are irreversible. Organisms often alter information in RNA because it provides a flexible platform. They use diverse tools. One example is RNA editing through adenosine deamination, a process that occurs in all multicellular animals. Unlike alternative splicing, which shuffles relatively large regions of RNA, editing targets single bases. Catalyzed by the ADAR family of enzymes, specific adenosines are converted to inosine at precise positions within RNAs. Although inosine is not one of the four Watson-Crick bases, it is a biological mimic for guanosine during translation. Thus when editing occurs within messenger RNAs, it can recode specific codons, leading to changes to protein structure and function. By recoding mRNAs, organisms gain the option to express a diverse quiver of proteins when and where they choose. My lab focuses on RNA editing. We look at cephalopods because they recode proteins through RNA editing far more often than other organisms. We also are developing ways to redirect RNA editing to sites of our choosing.

Extra nuclear expression of the RNA editing enzyme ADAR in the squid stellate ganglion.
Control and CRISPR-Cas9 mediated pigmentation (TDO) knockout squid hatchlings
The most common form of RNA editing in animals is a deamination of adenosine to inosine within RNAs.
An Octopus vulgaris surveying the reef in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of Ramiro Artigas.

Select Publications:

Crawford, K, Diaz Quiroz, J.F., Koenig, C.M., Ahuja, N., Albertin, C.B. and Rosenthal, J.J.C. (2020). Highly efficient knockout of a squid pigmentation gene. Current Biology 30: 3484-3490. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.099.

Vallecillo-Viejo, I., Liscovitch-Brauer, N., Diaz Quiroz, J.F., Montiel-Gonzalez, M.F., Nemes, S.E., Rangan, K.J., Levinson. S.R., Eisenberg, E., and Rosenthal, J.J.C (2020). Spatially regulated editing of genetic information within a neuron. Nucleic Acids Research doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa172

Liscovitch-Brauer, N., Alon, S., Porath, H.T., Elstein, B., Unger, R., Ziv, T., Admon, A., Levanon, E.Y., Rosenthal, J.J.C.*, and Eisenberg, E.* (2017). Trade-off between transcriptome plasticity and genome evolution in cephalopods. Cell. 169(2):191-202.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.03.025

M.F. Montiel-Gonzalez, I.C. Vallecillo-Viejo, and J.J.C. Rosenthal (2016). An efficient system for selectively altering genetic information in mRNAs. NAR 44: e157.

S. Alon, S.C. Garrett, E.Y. Levanon, S. Olson, B.R. Graveley, J.J.C. Rosenthal, and E. Eisenberg (2015). The majority of transcripts in the squid nervous system are extensively recoded by A-to-I RNA editing. eLife 4: 10.7554/eLife.05198.

M. Montiel-Gonzalez, I. Vallecillo, G. Yudowski, and J.J.C. Rosenthal (2013). Correction of mutations within the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator by site-directed RNA editing. PNAS. 110: 18285-90.

J.J.C. Rosenthal and P.H. Seeburg (2012). A-to-I RNA Editing: Effects on Proteins Key to Neural Excitability. Neuron. 74:432-9.

S.C. Garrett and J.J.C. Rosenthal (2012). RNA editing underlies temperature adaptation in K+ channels from polar octopuses. Science. 335: 848-51.

Lab Members:

namrata-ahujaNamrata Ahuja

I am a research assistant working on developing transgenic cephalopods using the Crispr-CAS9 system. My interest in biology lies in how an organism develops from a single cell and the molecular mechanisms behind early development. I am especially interested in cell fates, animal body plans and how gene editing can disrupt morphology and behavior. By targeting different genes using CRISPR, we can study the effect on the animal and if there are any pathways that may mitigate any disruptions that occur. My current project involves microinjection of CRISPR-Cas9 in early cephalopod embryos, focusing on the species Euprymna berryi and the gene TDO.


matthew-birkMatthew Birk

I am an environmental physiologist interested in how animals respond to and are adapted by their environment. To do so, I utilize a range of techniques to investigate physiological questions on molecular, cellular, organismal, and behavioral scales. I am especially interested in the complex (yet essential) balance of oxygen supply and demand within animals. Mismatches between oxygen supply and demand are key aspects of many human and animal pathologies. Using a comparative approach, I investigate the conserved and divergent strategies that animals use to maintain physiological performance under a variety of environmental conditions. I am also broadly interested in cephalopod biology. I apply an integrative approach to my research to gain a holistic understanding of these taxa and their role in marine ecosystems.

Currently, I am an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow investigating temperature acclimation in cephalopods via RNA editing and subsequent protein recoding. These animals are capable of recoding vast proportions of their neural proteome in a temperature-sensitive manner. My current research investigates the extent, mechanism, and function of such temperature-sensitive editing.


juandiazquirozJuan Diaz Quiroz

Throughout my career, I have been interested in how molecular, chemical and physical signals intersect to modulate cell behavior, and, in particular, how they can be manipulated to promote tissue repair. For this reason, over the past 14 years I have worked on projects that focus on how specific cues can affect tissue formation or regeneration. During my undergraduate and Master’s studies I analyzed how the dynamic environment of a bioreactor (containing both chemical and physical cues) affects connective tissue formation by fibroblasts seeded on collagen scaffolds. During my Ph.D. I studied how the modulation of micro RNAs (molecular cues) can create a permissive environment for spinal cord repair in mammals. During my first postdoc, I studied how modifications in bacterial-derived protein coatings (chemical and physical cues) can promote re-endothelialization of synthetic vascular grafts. Presently, I am a Postdoc in the Rosenthal Lab working on a project evaluating whether site-directed RNA editing (a molecular cue) can be use to restore normal nociception in people suffering idiopathic pain.


sonya-nemesSonya Nemes

Like most biologists, I grew up fascinated by the biological world. As my knowledge of biology deepened, I have focused my interest on how microscopic processes are translated into thought and action. Cephalopod RNA editing offers a unique window into how small scale post-transcriptional changes in RNA can affect tissue function and even the function of an entire organism. As an undergraduate I studied how ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors influence learning and memory in mice. After graduation I came to work in the Rosenthal lab as a research assistant. My current research focuses on gaining a mechanistic understanding of the foundations for high-level RNA editing in squid.


namrata-ojhaNamrata Ohja

Currently I am a senior research assistant in the Rosenthal lab. I am interested in the prospect of using site-directed RNA editing for therapeutic applications and my project is to develop RNA editing assays and selection strategies. Before moving to the MBL, I was a postdoctoral fellow and subsequently research assistant at the NIH. As a postdoctoral fellow, I was involved in understanding lipid droplet biogenesis. As a research assistant my work was to understand protein self-assembly and I was involved in developing photoswitching fluorescence anisotropy method for the same. Additionally, I was also involved in utilizing mutagenesis to improve existing fluorescent proteins. My PhD was in cell biology and I studied the differential role of Rab proteins in protein trafficking, specifically the role of Rab5 isoforms and their regulation.