Research within the Rouge Group aims to understand how enzymes and nucleic acids can be used in new ways to engineer highly specific and targeted responses in chemical and biological systems.
This will be achieved through the following two approaches:
1. The development of new chemical conjugation strategies that enable the evolution and selection of unique clusters of RNA aptamers with affinity for important biological targets. To this end, methods will be developed that will allow selected aptamers to be interfaced with nanoparticle systems for their delivery and use in therapeutic applications.
2. A fundamental study of the ability of RNA to facilitate unique chemical and biochemical reactions. This will involve the discovery of new RNA structures through in vitro selections which explore the chemical and structural diversity of RNA. Particular emphasis will be placed on isolating RNA that is able to orient various chemically reactive sites in ways which mimic existing biochemical reaction schemes in aqueous systems. A focus on photochemical and catalytic systems will be applied.