The focus of my PhD project is on investigating the structure of ribonucleic acid (RNA). RNA plays a vital role in gene decoding, expression, and regulation. Its ability to form a continuum of highly complex three-dimensional shapes facilitates interactions with other molecules, giving rise to a wealth of functions of post-transcriptional control. This makes it very important to understand the structure of RNA in order to explain how these molecular processes normally work and what goes wrong in disease.
Combining chemical structure probing methods with next-generation sequencing can identify accessible regions of RNA which might interact with other molecules. Further, recently developed methods made it possible to identify the interacting sites of RNA with the protein of interest. The idea of this project is to integrate these two data sources in order to assess how the dynamic events of protein binding can complement the information about RNA structural conformation. It is planned to apply the resulting model within a collaborative project to study Motor Neurone Disease.
My other interests include memory. My background is in computer science and mathematics and I aim to apply such techniques as probabilistic modelling and machine learning to biological data. In particular, I am especially drawn towards working in clinical applications.