School of Medicine
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Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests The chemistry and biology of the unusual plastid organelle, the apicoplast, in malaria parasites
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biochemistry
Bio I am interested in leveraging RNA's unique structural properties to assist in deciphering basic biology and to design new in vivo nanotechnology.
Unlike proteins whose secondary structure and tertiary structure are deeply intertwined, RNA has been demonstrated to fold in near discrete steps: first forming its secondary structure motifs and then forming interactions between these motifs to form its final 3D structure. A large body of biochemical work has demonstrated that much of RNA tertiary structure is composed of the interactions between discrete components known as RNA 3D motifs. Motifs are well-defined geometric arrangements of interacting nucleotides. Based on these limited characterized motifs, researchers have built large complicated structures including fabrics and polyhedral. Harnessing this strategy which is already employed by nature, it is possible to build large complex structures by assembling together motifs from a large family of structural elements such as helices, hairpins and internal loops already available in high-resolution crystallographic structures.
My long-term goal is to utilize a diverse set of 3D motifs and cutting edge algorithms to design a new set of synthetic RNAs that will better illuminate the basic properties of RNA 3D structure and can be used to perform a wide-array of novel tasks as RNA nano-machines.