Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Our lab strives to predict and design how biopolymer sequences define and regulate biopolymer structure/function, focusing on medically important RNA and RNA/protein complexes.
We are exploring algorithms to predict the structures and energetics of RNAs and RNA/protein interfaces at high resolution, focusing initially on small building blocks. We test these ideas through community-wide blind trials and by solving molecule structures and structure ensembles with sparse chemical mapping, NMR, crystallographic, and cryoelectron microscopy data.
Complementary to this computational research, we are developing information-rich biochemical methods to model the myriad structures of non-coding RNAs that remain unknown. Current efforts focus on probing the extent of RNA structure and conformational change inside cells and viruses, in close collaboration with expert biologists at Stanford.
In addition to modeling RNAs, we aim to design new ones for basic science, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Our videogame project EteRNA seeks missing rules and novel molecules for medicine by giving citizen scientists access to high-throughput wet-lab experiments.