Prior to joining the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus she completed her PhD in Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her research focused on RNA biology and bioinformatics, with a particular focus on understanding the complexities of RNA translation. She made significant contributions to studies on upstream open reading frames and the broader role of 5’ transcript leaders on yeast translation efficiency. During the latter stages of her graduate career, she leveraged the availability of public data repositories and transitioned to mammalian studies. Notably her investigations uncovered falsely identified internal ribosome entry sites (IRESes), prompting a reevaluation of public data and underscoring the need for accurate annotations and data reproducibility. Christina also played a crucial role in educational initiatives, leading workshops aimed at training biologists in computational techniques and hopes to continue teaching.

In her current role at the Pividori Lab, she leverages Massively Parallel Reporter Assay (MPRA) data and computational methods to explore RNA localization. Her research aims to pinpoint mRNA sequence features and structures that determine neurite localization and to develop a predictive model of RNA localization. Ultimately, she seeks to design novel RNAs for targeted localization and establish localization rules applicable across species.

Outside the lab, Christina enjoys the outdoors, especially hiking and skiing. She values her time with family, friends, and her beautiful pup. Additionally, Christina is passionate about digital art and is actively working to broaden her artistic portfolio and reach.

Search for Christina Akirtava's papers on the Research page