Robert Spitale

Assistant Professor
Pharmaceutical Sciences

Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2009, Chemistry

Phone: (949) 824-7655

University of California, Irvine
2214 Natural Sciences 1
Mail Code: 3958
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Robert  Spitale

Chemistry and Chemical Biology; RNA Biology
URL The Spitale Lab
Appointments Stanford University (2010-2014). Laboratory of Howard Y. Chang.
My labs major scientific goal is to understand how RNA molecules orchestrate gene expression pathways and contribute to disease pathologies. My lab aims to develop biochemical technologies to study RNA inside living cells, aiming to address many important questions that remain about RNA structure and function on a systems level. In addition, my lab is focused on inspiring learning and educating students, postdoctoral fellows, and clinician-scientists to become a new generation of leaders in academic and industrial pharmacology, and translational sciences.
Publications 19. Spitale, R.C., Flynn, R.A. & Kool, E.T. & Chang, H.Y. “Exploring RNA Structure by Evolving SHAPE Chemistry” (2013) WIREs RNA In Press.

18. Wan, Y., Qu, K., Zhang, Q.C., Flynn, R.A., Manor, O., Ouyang, Z., Zhang, J., Spitale, R.C., Snyder, M.P., Segal, E. & Chang, H.Y. “Landscape and Variation of RNA Secondary Structure Across the Human Transcriptome” (2014) Nature. 505(7485):706-9.

17. Ilik, I.A., Quinn, J.J., Tavares-Cadete, F., Georgiev, P., Wan, Y., Spitale, R.C., Luscombe, N., Chang, H.Y. & Akhtar, A. “Conserved Hotspots in RoX RNAs Act as Anchors in the Assembly of the Dosage Compensation Complex in Drosophila” (2013) Molecular Cell 51(2):156-73.

16. Spitale, R.C., Crisalli, P., Flynn, R.A., Torre, E.A., Quinn, J.J., Kool, E.T. & Chang, H.Y. “RNA SHAPE Analysis in Living Cells” (2013) Nature Chemical Biology 9(1):18-20.
Recommended read by Faculty 1000
Highlighted in Nature Methods
Highlighted by Biotechniques

15. Kretz, M., Webster, D.E., Ci, C., Siprashvili, Z., Zehnder, A., Qu, K., Lee, C.S., Flockhart, R.J., Groff, A.F., Chow, J., Johnston, D., Kim, G.E., Spitale, R.C., Flynn, R.A., Zheng, G.X.Y., Aiyer, S., Raj, A., Rinn, J.L., Chang, H.Y. & Khavari, P.A. “Control of Somatic Tissue Differentiation by the Long Non-Coding RNA TINCR” (2013) Nature 10;493(7431):231-5.
Recommended read by Faculty 1000

14. Spitale, R.C., Cheng, M.Y., Chun, K.A., Gorell, E.S., Munoz, C.A., Kern, D.G., Wood, S.M., Wulff, J., Beebe, K.D., Chang, A.L.S. "Differential Effects of Dietary Supplements on Metabolic Profiles of Smokers Versus Non-Smokers" (2012) Genome Medicine 4:14.

13. Wan, Y., Kertesz, M., Spitale, R.C., Segal, E. & Chang, H.Y. "Understanding the Transcriptome Through RNA Structure" (2011) Nature Review Genetics 12(9):641-55.

12. Spitale, R.C., Tsai, M.C., & Chang, H.Y. “RNA Templating the Epigenome: Long Noncoding RNAs as Molecular Scaffolds” (2011) Epigenetics 1, 6(5).

11. Tsai, M.C., Spitale, R.C. & Chang, H.Y. “Long Intergenic Non-Coding RNAs – the New Link in Cancer Progression” (2011) Cancer Research 71, 3-7.

10. Guo, M., Spitale, R.C., Volpini, R., Krucinska, J., Cristalli, G., Carey, P. & Wedekind, J.E. "Direct Raman Measurement of an Elevated Base pKa in the Active Site of a Small Ribozyme in a Pre-Catalytic Conformation" (2009) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 12908-12909.
Featured in Chemistry & Engineering News as a Science & Technology Highlight.

9. Spitale, R.C., Mungillo, M.V., Volpini, R., Cristalli, G., Krucinska, J. & Wedekind, J.E. "Single-Atom Imino Substitutions at A9 and A10 Reveal Distinct Effects on the Fold and Function of the Hairpin Ribozyme Catalytic Core" (2009) Biochemistry. 48, 7777-7779.
Chosen as a hot paper by the journal Biochemistry.

8. Spitale, R.C., Heller, M.G., Volpini, R., Cristalli, G., Krucinska, J., & Wedekind, J. E. "Identification of an Imino Group Indispensable for Cleavage by a Small Ribozyme" (2009) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 6093-6095.

7. Spitale, R.C., Torelli, A.T., Krucinska, J., Bandarian, V., & Wedekind, J. E. The Structural Basis For Recognition of the PreQ0 Metabolite By An Unusually Small Riboswitch Aptamer Domain" (2009) J. Biol. Chem. 284, 11012-11016.
Paper of the week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Featured on the cover of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Featured as a Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource science highlight.

6. Spitale, R.C. & Wedekind, J.E. "Exploring Ribozyme Conformational Changes With X-ray Crystallography" (2009) Methods. 49, 87-100.

5. Torelli, A.T*, Spitale, R.C.*, Krucinska, J., & Wedekind, J.E. "Shared Traits on the Reaction Coordinates of Ribonuclease and an RNA Enzyme" (2008) Biochem. Biophysical Res. Comm. 371,154-158 [*denotes equal contribution].

4. Spitale, R.C., Heller, M.G., Pelly, A.G., & Wedekind, J.E. "The Efficient Synthesis of 5’-fluoro- guanosine and –inosine" (2007) J. Org. Chem. 72, 8551-8554.

3. MacElrevey, C., Spitale, R.C., Krucinska, J., & Wedekind, J.E. "A Posteriori Design of Crystal Contacts to Improve the X-ray Diffraction Properties of a Small RNA Enzyme" (2007) Acta. Cryst. Section D. 63, 812-825.

2. Palde, P.B., McNaughton, B.R., Ross, N.T., Gareiss, P.C., Mace, C.R., Spitale, R.C., & Miller, B.L. "Single Step Synthesis of Functional Organic Receptors via a Tri-directional Minisci Reaction" (2007) Synthesis. 15, 2289-2290.

1. Potenziano, J., Spitale, R.C., & Janik, M.E. "Improved and Highly Versatile Synthesis of 5-Aryltropones" (2005) Synth. Comm. 35, 2005–2016.
Other Experience Postdoctoral Fellow
Stanford University 2010—2014

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Last updated 08/18/2015