With the completion of the human genome project it became clear that the overwhelming majority of our genome does not encode proteins, yet is still actively transcribed, giving rise to hundreds of thousands of non-coding RNAs. Since the function of most of these RNAs is unknown we study their impact on gene expression using biochemistry, structural biology and systems biology approaches based on next-generation sequencing. Our work will advance applied research into tissue regeneration, cancer progression and will allow for a deeper understanding of aberrant gene expression in human disease. Understanding the role of non-coding RNAs in human disease is especially important since in the last years the first therapeutical antisense RNAs and small interfering RNAs were approved for the treatment of human disease. RNA may therefore consititute an entirely novel class of therapeutics to treat human disease.