Associate Professor of Biology
Research & Publications
My research focuses on nucleic acids: DNA and RNA. I study a wide range of topics associated with how nucleic acids are organized and interact throughout the cell.
RNA Binding Proteins
RNA is fascinating and incredibly powerful! RNA and RNA Binding Proteins have interactions that can all levels of cellular function. My lab focuses on proteins that contain an RNA binding domain called RNA Recognition motifs. We use molecular biology and biochemistry to understand the properties of these interactions so that we can learn how they function.
Structure from Oubridge et al 1994 (PDB: 1urn)
This is a protein found in Drosophila (fruit flies) and plays an incredibly important role in RNA splicing. There are proteins similar to this in humans and other organisms, but their ability to bind RNA and regulate RNA splicing is slightly different. We use evolution as a guide to investigate how this protein's function has changed over time.
We study this RRM protein in plants. It participates in polyadenylation, which is the addition of the Poly A Tail to the end of mRNAs. Our research indicates that it plays a role in helping cells respond to various environmental conditions. We use molecular biology and biochemistry to investigate how it interacts with its RNA targets.
DNA Genomes and Mitogenomes
There are many organisms who's genomes have not yet been well studied. In particular there are species of lamprey in the Indiana region that are uncharacterized. In conjunction with Dr. Rex Strange in the Biology Department, we study the genomes of these species and investigate their evolutionary relationships to other lamprey species.