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
Basic Life Res Scientist, Biochemistry
Bio I seek to utilize RNA’s unique structural properties to design new nanomachines for therapeutic and biosensor applications.
Biological nanotechnology promises to create custom nanomachines to revolutionize the engineering of materials, catalysts, biomedical diagnostics and therapeutics. Recent years have seen rapid progress in RNA nanotechnology, inspired by natural RNA machines that can sense molecules, carry out complex computations, and recruit proteins and other molecules. Despite RNA’s design potential, its full promise has yet to be realized. This proposal presents my long-term research vision for constructing complex RNA machines by using methods I developed in my postdoctoral work; these methods resolve the difficulties that have plagued RNA nanostructure design. Based on these breakthroughs, I will design therapeutic and biosensing RNA machines that harness RNAs ability to detect, bind and recruit other molecules. Here, I present the first three nanomachines my laboratory will design and produce: (1) ultra-high-affinity chemical sensors, (2) tertiary structure detectors for non-coding RNA discovery and (3) therapeutic inhibitors and stabilizers of protein-protein interactions. Each represents a milestone in RNA nanotechnology and, in conjunction with developing novel methods, will permit the generation of numerous complex RNA-based machines.