PhD, 2019, Stanford University
BS, 2012, University of Washington
RNAs are exceptionally versatile molecules that perform diverse cellular and viral functions. This functional versatility is dependent on RNA’s ability to encode genetic information and form dynamic 3D structures capable of recognizing proteins, binding small molecules, and catalyzing chemical reactions. As such, a critical goal in chemical biology is to understand the principles that dictate the 3D structure and conformational dynamics of RNA molecules and how these, in turn, determine function with the ultimate goal of developing therapeutics and biotechnological tools. In the Bonilla lab we use cryo-EM and other structural and biophysical tools to understand and develop predictive models of RNA structure-function relationships. We are particularly interested in multifunctional RNA 3D structures that are used by viruses to maximize the information content of their genomes and hijack the biochemical machinery of their host.