P. Clint Spiegel
Research Areas: Biochemistry, RNA and protein interactions, biochemical structure and function, in vitro evolution
B.S. Biochemistry and Biophysics, University Honors College, Oregon State University (1999)
Ph.D. Program in Biomolecular Structure and Design, University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (2004)
Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Santa Cruz (2004-2007)
My research group is interested in understanding the structural and functional properties of RNA. Recent discoveries have shown that RNA can adopt complex tertiary structure and perform various catalytic activities, similar to proteins. Current research efforts in my group involve studying ribosome structure and function. The ribosome is the primordial macromolecular machine, consisting of both RNA and protein, which performs protein synthesis and is essential to all forms of life. During protein synthesis, translation factors bind to the ribosomal subunit interface to aid in ribosomal initiation, elongation, termination, and recycling. We use solution-based structural techniques, such as “chemical footprinting”, to understand (1) how transfer RNAs (tRNAs) move through the ribosome during each step of translation and (2) how translation factors interact with the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) of the 70S ribosome. Additionally, we are interested in using the structural and evolutionary capabilities of RNA to develop new biotechnological applications.