• Professor
  • Associate Dean, CST
  • Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
  • Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 1981
  • Department of Biology
  • Temple University

The nucleic acids, RNA and DNA, provide the structural and functional basis for gene expression and its regulation. My research focuses on the role of ribonucleases and their catalytic action in regulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Specifically, I seek to understand how the enzymatic cleavage of double-stranded RNA structures by members of the ribonuclease III family controls the function and stability of bacterial cell coding and noncoding RNAs. An emerging picture is that ribonuclease III acts in a regulated fashion on a specific network of transcripts ("RNase III regulon") that enables the bacterial cell to quickly adapt in response to specific stress cues.

DNA and RNA molecules also can serve as structural materials for the laboratory-bench construction of complex structures with novel functions. Specifically, the capacity of DNA and RNA molecules to form programmed nanostructures, through spontaneous self-assembly driven by standard base-pairing, has driven the development of structural DNA (and RNA) nanotechnology. In collaboration with DNA nanotechnology and structural bioinformatics research groups, my laboratory is engaged in the development of nanoscale devices that can detect - in a real-time, single-molecule manner - nucleic acid and protein biomarkers of viral pathogens and cellular disease.