Current Research and Scholarly Interests
We strive for a predictive understanding of how biopolymer sequences code for biopolymer structures, with an initial focus on RNA and RNA/protein (RNP) complexes.
We are exploring new ab initio algorithms to predict the structures and energetics of RNAs and proteins at high resolution, focusing initially on the smallest such puzzles. We test these ideas through community-wide blind trials; by fixing crystallographic models; and by solving structures with chemical mapping and sparse NMR data.
We are developing information-rich biochemical methods to solve the myriad structures of noncoding RNAs that remain unknown. Current efforts focus on applying these experimental methods to basic mysteries in RNA/protein behavior, including the extent of RNA structure inside cells and viruses.
Third, we are developing the first massive open laboratory, EteRNA. This project is revealing missing rules for folding and engineering RNA devices for cellular control and computing, and by time-stamping hypotheses and enabling remote access to wet-lab experiments, enables science with unprecedented rigor, at the internet scale.
Overall, our work aims to bring us a future in which coding living systems with RNAs and RNPs is as agile and pervasive as coding conventional computers with programming languages.