Assistant Professor of Structural Biology
Cell Cycle; Gene Expression; Genomics and proteomics; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Molecular Basis of Disease; Protein Folding; Protein Function and Structure; RNA; Signal Transduction; Structural Biology; Transcription and Translation
My primary interest lies in understanding how proteins recognize RNA. Protein/RNA interactions are central to a variety of biological processes such as regulation of gene expression, mRNA processing, mRNA splicing, and translation. Previous studies have shown that complex formation between proteins and RNA is a highly dynamic process that requires conformational rearrangements between both the protein and the RNA. To gain structural insights into the effect of RNA binding on protein structure, dynamics, and stability, we use high resolution NMR spectroscopy combined with biophysical tools such as fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism, and isothermal titration calorimetry. One system currently under study is the stem-loop binding protein (SLBP) which binds histone mRNA hairpin with nanomolar affinity. Complex formation between SLBP and histone mRNA is necessary for correct mRNA processing of histone mRNAs, for histone mRNA transport, and translation. Another project involves characterization of a novel family of eukaryotic exoribonucleases that play important roles in disease.