We are exploring the structure and molecular recognition of ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Our goal is to facilitate the development of therapies targeting noncoding RNA (ncRNA). ncRNAs participate as key players in many biological processes and may adopt complex architectures that are required for function. The development of ligands that bind specifically to ncRNA targets opens new ways to expand the existing repertoire of protein-directed therapeutics.

In our research we apply diverse techniques including molecular biology, biochemistry, X-ray crystallography, as well as synthetic organic chemistry:

Discovery, Validation and Screening of New RNA Targets

We use molecular biological and biochemical methods to explore new RNA targets in therapeutic areas including infectious diseases and cancer. Screening assays are being developed that report on functional consequences of ligand binding to an RNA target in addition to returning binding affinity. Target validation includes molecular and cell biological studies.(... more)

Structure Determination of RNA Targets and Ligand Complexes

We use X-ray crystallography to investigate the three-dimensional architecture of RNA targets and their complexes with small molecules of both natural and synthetic origin. (... more)

Design and Synthesis of New Ligands for RNA Targets

Structure-guided design is combined with ligand-based approaches to develop focused small molecule libraries for screening against RNA targets. We develop syntheses for new RNA-friendly molecules of natural product-like complexity. (... more)

Self-Assembling RNA Nanostructures

We use crystal structures to design RNA nanostructures that self-assemble from small RNA motifs and serve as combinatorial platforms for functionalization. (... more)