Research Scientist, Chemistry
Our primary goal is to define the structure and function of novel non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the pathogenesis of human infectious diseases. The ongoing efforts are to employ interdisciplinary approaches of biochemistry, synthetic chemistry and chemical biology, in collaboration with CNAST member laboratories and external institutions, to elucidate the mechanism of function of various novel ncRNAs in eukaryotic pathogens Plasmodium falciparum and Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agents of malaria and trypanosomiasis, respectively. Although, the range of functions attributed to ncRNAs have substantially expanded with the realization that RNA functions in the catalysis of crucial cellular processes, their role in eukaryotic pathogenesis by unicellular pathogens remains fairly unexplored. We are coupling substantial biochemical information on these RNAs with chemical screening data to obtain a better understanding of the processes involved, which will lead to testable mechanistic hypotheses. Our aim is to use potential RNA inhibitors, such as peptide nucleic acids (PNAs), antibiotics or other small molecules that target particular RNA folds or RNA-protein interactions to block essential cellular function and disease pathogenesis.
Lab Webpage: http://www.chem.cmu.edu/groups/chakrabarti/