Torben Heick Jensen



The regulation and fidelity of gene expression is of paramount importance for the maintenance and differentiation of all living organisms. Our laboratory studies the production and quality control of RNA in eukaryotic cells (S. cerevisiae, mouse and human) and its contribution to gene expression regulation. A main focus of the laboratory is to understand the molecular principles dictating the sorting of newly transcribed RNA into a productive pathway involving its packaging with protein and cellular transport vs. a destructive pathway leading to RNA turnover. We believe that a thorough understanding of these relationships will also position us to better understand any putative function of the pervasive transcription of eukaryotic genomes.

Laboratory efforts can roughly be divided into four research topics:

· Delineation of nuclear human RNA decay pathways and their regulatory capacities

· Distinguishing non-functional from functional non-coding RNA transcription events

· Shaping of human transcriptomes by nonsense-mediated decay (NMD)

· Relationships between RNA synthesis and decay in S. cerevisiae

From 2005-2015 Torben Heick Jensen was heading the Danish National Research Foundation-funded ‘Centre for mRNP Biogenesis and Metabolism’. These, and other, efforts are now continued via funding from the European Research Council (ERC), the Danish Council for Independent Research, the Novo Nordisk foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation and the Danish Cancer Society. The THJ laboratory is also part of the iSEQ Centre for Integrative Sequencing (


2016.02.29 | Awards

Finding hidden treasures in our DNA

The human genome is promiscuously transcribed yielding RNA from >75% of its DNA, and throughout the years, researchers world-wide have tried to find out how much of this material is functional. Danish researchers have now received a prestigious grant from the Lundbeck Foundation to address this problem.

2015.06.26 | Research news

Surprising new mechanism for gene expression regulation

A new important role for a protein connected to the proper function of neurons has been discovered by a research group from MBG, Aarhus University. The studies shed new light on gene expression regulation and may ultimately lead to an understanding of how neurological defects occur when this protein is mutated.

2015.01.09 | Research news

How to target the RNA decay machinery

In collaboration with two other European groups, researchers from Aarhus University have uncovered molecular details leading to targetting of the major RNA decay machinery, the RNA exosome, to its nuclear RNA substrates. Studies can now be designed to address the role of this early nuclear RNA decay pathway in processes where rapid RNA decay may…

2014.11.20 | Research news

A novel strategy to sort functional from non-functional RNA

The human genome is promiscuously transcribed yielding RNA from >75% of its DNA. It is presently intensely debated how much of this material is functional. Danish researchers have devised a method to help address this problem.


Martin Moravec
Logan Decker
Maria Gockert

2016.04.27 | Events

New Staff

PhD student Maria Gockert and PostDocs Martin Moravec and Logan Decker joined the Torben Heick Jensen lab. Welcome!

Simone Giacometti

2016.04.12 | Events

Simone's PhD Defense

Simone successfully defended his PhD April 11. Congratulations!

2016.02.29 | Events

Lab Retreat 2016

The date for our annual lab retreat to Fuglsø has been set to June 2nd - 3rd


Ph.D. student Yuhui Dou is now at Aarhus University after an initial training period with John La Cava at the Rockefeller, NY. Welcome!

Non-coding RNA on National Radio Program

Hear Torben on non-coding RNA in the Science Program 'Videnskabens Verden' on DR (Denmark's national broadcasting corporation).

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Revised 2016.05.26