Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2014
Home Department: Biophysics Program
Faculty Advisors: Steven Block (Biology and Applied Physics) and William Greenleaf (Genetics)

Research Title: Investigating how a model RNA enzyme folds into shape and performs biochemistry using both single-molecule manipulation and massively parallel high-throughput assays”

Research Description: An important open problem in biology is how structured RNAs photo of Andrew Savinov in the laboratoryachieve active conformations and how these conformations produce biological function. Andrew is investigating this problem in the glmS ribozyme riboswitch, which must fold and cleave itself to regulate gene expression. He is applying two complementary techniques: optical trapping to investigate single-molecule folding and catalysis and high-throughput RNA array experiments to systematically dissect mutational effects on self-cleavage activity. These techniques will reveal the energy landscape and trajectories of folding and the mutational landscape of catalysis. This approach promises to provide deep mechanistic understanding of how structured RNAs function in biological processes.


Andrew is a K99 postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Gene-Wei Li’s lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.