David Bartel

David Bartel

Professor of Biology; Core Member, Whitehead Institute; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

David Bartel studies molecular pathways that regulate eukaryotic gene expression by affecting the stability or translation of mRNAs.





Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research


Laura Resteghini



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 1993, Harvard University
  • BA, 1982, Biology, Goshen College

Research Summary

We study microRNAs and other small RNAs that specify the destruction and/or translational repression of mRNAs. We also study mRNAs, focusing on their untranslated regions and poly(A) tails, and how these regions recruit and mediate regulatory phenomena.


  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 2011
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, HHMI Investigator, 2005
  • National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, 2005
  • AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, 2002

Key Publications

  1. The molecular basis of coupling between poly(A)-tail length and translational efficiency. Xiang, K, Bartel, DP. 2021. Elife 10, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.66493PMID:34213414
  2. The ZSWIM8 ubiquitin ligase mediates target-directed microRNA degradation. Shi, CY, Kingston, ER, Kleaveland, B, Lin, DH, Stubna, MW, Bartel, DP. 2020. Science 370, .
    doi: 10.1126/science.abc9359PMID:33184237
  3. The biochemical basis of microRNA targeting efficacy. McGeary, SE, Lin, KS, Shi, CY, Pham, TM, Bisaria, N, Kelley, GM, Bartel, DP. 2019. Science 366, .
    doi: 10.1126/science.aav1741PMID:31806698
  4. Excised linear introns regulate growth in yeast. Morgan, JT, Fink, GR, Bartel, DP. 2019. Nature 565, 606-611.
    doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0828-1PMID:30651636
  5. A Network of Noncoding Regulatory RNAs Acts in the Mammalian Brain. Kleaveland, B, Shi, CY, Stefano, J, Bartel, DP. 2018. Cell 174, 350-362.e17.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.05.022PMID:29887379

Recent Publications

  1. The guide-RNA sequence dictates the slicing kinetics and conformational dynamics of the Argonaute silencing complex. Wang, PY, Bartel, DP. 2024. Mol Cell , .
    doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2024.06.026PMID:39025072
  2. The guide RNA sequence dictates the slicing kinetics and conformational dynamics of the Argonaute silencing complex. Wang, PY, Bartel, DP. 2024. bioRxiv , .
    doi: 10.1101/2023.10.15.562437PMID:38766062
  3. Nuclear release of eIF1 globally increases stringency of start-codon selection to preserve mitotic arrest physiology. Ly, J, Xiang, K, Su, KC, Sissoko, GB, Bartel, DP, Cheeseman, IM. 2024. bioRxiv , .
    doi: 10.1101/2024.04.06.588385PMID:38617206
  4. Control of poly(A)-tail length and translation in vertebrate oocytes and early embryos. Xiang, K, Ly, J, Bartel, DP. 2024. Dev Cell 59, 1058-1074.e11.
    doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2024.02.007PMID:38460509
  5. ZSWIM8 destabilizes many murine microRNAs and is required for proper embryonic growth and development. Shi, CY, Elcavage, LE, Chivukula, RR, Stefano, J, Kleaveland, B, Bartel, DP. 2023. Genome Res 33, 1482-1496.
    doi: 10.1101/gr.278073.123PMID:37532519
  6. A statistical approach for identifying primary substrates of ZSWIM8-mediated microRNA degradation in small-RNA sequencing data. Wang, PY, Bartel, DP. 2023. BMC Bioinformatics 24, 195.
    doi: 10.1186/s12859-023-05306-zPMID:37170259
  7. Endogenous transcripts direct microRNA degradation in Drosophila, and this targeted degradation is required for proper embryonic development. Kingston, ER, Blodgett, LW, Bartel, DP. 2022. Mol Cell 82, 3872-3884.e9.
    doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2022.08.029PMID:36150386
  8. The Parkinson's disease protein alpha-synuclein is a modulator of processing bodies and mRNA stability. Hallacli, E, Kayatekin, C, Nazeen, S, Wang, XH, Sheinkopf, Z, Sathyakumar, S, Sarkar, S, Jiang, X, Dong, X, Di Maio, R et al.. 2022. Cell 185, 2035-2056.e33.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2022.05.008PMID:35688132
  9. The interplay between translational efficiency, poly(A) tails, microRNAs, and neuronal activation. Eisen, TJ, Li, JJ, Bartel, DP. 2022. RNA 28, 808-831.
    doi: 10.1261/rna.079046.121PMID:35273099
  10. MicroRNA 3'-compensatory pairing occurs through two binding modes, with affinity shaped by nucleotide identity and position. McGeary, SE, Bisaria, N, Pham, TM, Wang, PY, Bartel, DP. 2022. Elife 11, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.69803PMID:35191832
More Publications





Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute