Structural and Chemical Biology of the Transcriptome
Fulbright Scholar, Universitaet Goettingen, Germany (1987), Yale University, Ph.D. (1992). Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado (1992-1996); Research Innovation Award, Research Corporation (1997); Searle Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences (1998-2001); NSF Career Award (2000-2005); Visiting Scholar, National Institutes of Health, NIEHS (2002-2003); North Carolina Health & Life Sciences Promise for Tomorrow Award (2009); NIH EUREKA Award (2011-2015); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); Kenan Senior Faculty Competitive Research and Scholarly Leave (2013); Life Member, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, UK (2014)
The vision of the Weeks group is to apply chemical principles to create high-content molecular microscopes that are used to understand the structure and function of RNA in cells and viruses. This work addresses multiple, critical challenges in cellular and structural biology because RNA functions as the central conduit for biological information transfer, yet we understand very little about the global architecture that is critical for the molecular functions of most RNAs.
Our laboratory has pioneered technologies that make it possible to chemically interrogate RNA structure-function relationships at single-nucleotide resolution and then to evaluate these interactions on genome-wide scales using massively parallel analyses. SHAPE technologies, invented and under on-going development in the laboratory, are in use worldwide.
Most projects in the laboratory span fundamental chemistry or technology development and ultimately lead to deeply practical applications in virology, next-generation structure analysis, drug discovery, and understanding biological processes in living cells. Collectively, this work has led to extensive recognition of graduate student and postdoctoral colleagues in the laboratory.