Carol Wilusz Lab

​​​​​​​​The Carol Wilusz laboratory studies the regulation of mRNA metabolism in eukaryotic cells. Current projects are focused on characterizing decay of a toxic RNA in myotonic dystrophy and investigating how post-transcriptional modification of mRNA influences gene expression in stem and cancer cells. Carol Wilusz is the founder and director of the Molecular Quantification Core at Colorado State University, which provides state-of-the-art instrumentation to detect and quantify nucleic acids and proteins with unprecedented accuracy and sensitivity.

Carol Wilusz serves as the director of the Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate program at Colorado State University, in addition to teaching in the program.

COVID-19 Wastewater Testing

Since May 2020 the Carol Wilusz Lab and the Molecular Quantification Core have focused their efforts on developing and deploying a digital PCR-based assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. The assay was developed over the summer of 2020 with help from local company, GT Molecular, City of Fort Collins wastewater treatment plants, and CSU Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Susan De Long.  The lab now receives over 4L of sewage a week from all over the CSU campus and from wastewater treatment plants up and down the Colorado Front Range. The lab concentrates the samples, extracts RNA and quantifies SARS-CoV-2 virus, providing results to the CSU Pandemic Preparedness Team and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment within 24 hours.  Levels of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater can provide a means to detect increased levels of infection early and inform public health decisions.  This is a big change from the normal focus of the laboratory but we are proud that the data we generate helps monitor infection rates and keep our communities safe.  You can view our data on the Colorado COVID-19 Wastewater Dashboard.


Standardizing data reporting in the research community to enhance the utility of open data for SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance.
McClary-Gutierrez JS, Aanderud ZT, Al-Faliti M, Duvallet C, Gonzalez R, Guzman J, Holm RH, Jahne MA, Kantor RS, Katsivelis P, Kuhn KG, Langan LM, Mansfeldt C, McLellan SL, Grijalva LMM, Murnane KS, Naughton CC, Packman AI, Paraskevopoulos S, Radniecki TS, Roman FA Jr, Shrestha A, Stadler LB, Steele JA, Swalla BM, Vikesland P, Wartell B, Wilusz CJ, Wong JCC, Boehm AB, Halden RU, Bibby K, Vela JD.
Environ Sci (Camb). 2021;9:10.1039/d1ew00235j. doi: 10.1039/d1ew00235j. PMID: 34567579

A longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 biorepository for COVID-19 survivors with and without post-acute sequelae.
LaVergne SM, Stromberg S, Baxter BA, Webb TL, Dutt TS, Berry K, Tipton M, Haberman J, Massey BR, McFann K, Alnachoukati O, Zier L, Heacock T, Ebel GD, Henao-Tamayo M, Dunn J, Ryan EP.
BMC Infect Dis. 2021 Jul 13;21(1):677. doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-06359-2. PMID: 34256735

YTHDF2 destabilizes m6A-modified neural-specific RNAs to restrain differentiation in induced pluripotent stem cells.
Heck AM, Russo J, Wilusz J, Nishimura EO, Wilusz CJ. RNA. 2020 Jun;26(6):739-755. doi: 10.1261/rna.073502.119. Epub 2020 Mar 13. PMID: 32169943 

Small changes, big implications: The impact of m6A RNA methylation on gene expression in pluripotency and development.
Heck AM, Wilusz CJ. Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2019 Sep;1862(9):194402. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2019.07.003. Epub 2019 Jul 17. PMID: 31325527  

Sequences encoding C2H2 zinc fingers inhibit polyadenylation and mRNA export in human cells.
Russo J, Jalkanen AL, Heck AM, Schmidt CM, Wilusz J, Wilusz CJ.
Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 19;8(1):16995. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35138-4.PMID: 30451889

more publications


Carol Wilusz, Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator
Director, Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Program

Luke Davis
Luke Davis

Student Researcher

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