Description of Research

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James Group

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Current Research

Major goals of our research are:

  • Determine the structure of biologically important molecules using NMR. The purpose of this work is to better understand the fundamental processes of biology and to design drugs. We determine molecular structures by analyzing NMR spectra. Using the experimental NMR information, we calculate structures with the aid of restrained molecular dynamics (simulated annealing), distance geometry or, less commonly, restrained Monte Carlo methods.

  • Improve the capability for determining high-resolution structures. This includes proteins, DNA and RNA in solution, as well as complexes involving proteins and nucleic acids. One growing area of research is to elucidate the dynamic structure of biological molecules -- many biological processes entail conformational flexibility and NMR studies provide insight to these motions.

  • Continue to improve methodology and apply it to larger molecules. Applications include DNA gene targets, anti-sense DNA, RNA, DNA-RNA hybrids, proteins which regulate gene transcription, toxins, and cellular receptors. The subjects for structure determination are often chosen as potential targets for subsequent drug design or as models for drug design.