Research in the Bevilacqua Lab is centered on understanding functions of RNA in nature at the molecular level. RNA is a fascinating molecule because it has both genetic and functional capabilities. This has led to the notion that RNA was particularly important in the emergence of life on Earth–the “RNA World Hypothesis”. RNA is also of interest because it is involved in a wide range of important biological pathways and can be used as both a biological target and a chemical tool. We work on RNAs ranging from simple model systems to the entire transcriptome (tens of thousands of RNAs) in living organisms. There are three main projects in the lab broadly defined: ribozyme mechanism, RNA folding in vivo, and roles RNA may have played in the emergence of life on early earth (see Research page). Experimental approaches range from RNA molecular biology and genomics to biophysics, and we often develop new methods in these areas to facilitate the research. We collaborate with outstanding scientists including biologists, physicists, and theorists.
Affiliations at Penn State: We are founding members of the Center for RNA Molecular Biology and the NSF MRI-funded Center for Automated Biological Calorimetry. We are in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, as well as interdepartmental programs in Plant Biology, Molecular Cellular and Integrative Biosciences (MCIBS), and Bioinformatics and Genomics. We are also member of two NIH training grants: One in eukaryotic gene regulation (EGR) and another in Bioinformatics.
Portions of this site are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CHE-1213667. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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Last Updated: December 2, 2019