RNA-protein interactions are essential to most biological processes and as such they represent promising candidates for the development of novel applications for biotechnology and medicine. Unfortunately, the potential of these systems is limited given our poor understanding of the specific features that mediate the intermolecular recognition, interaction, and assembly of these molecules. Our group seeks to combine molecular engineering, genetic and biochemical studies as well as computational modeling techniques to examine RNA-protein systems and complex ribonucleoprotein particles, particularly to understand how regulatory molecular networks are coupled to environmental stress responses. A major part of our effort is to innovate high-throughput tools to enable our fundamental studies. Ultimately, we aim to apply our knowledge of RNA-protein systems to impact the areas of disease diagnosis, metabolic engineering and biosensor technology.
Specific research areas of interest in the lab include:
- Understanding RNA-protein assembly mechanisms during stress responses
- Studying protein-induced RNA conformational changes
- Characterizing sRNA-mediated regulation in extremophiles
- Engineering synthetic RNA elements inspired by natural systems