Biochemistry seeks to explain how life functions at the molecular level. Housed in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Alabama, the Dunkle Research Group is using biochemical tools to explore the role RNA plays in expressing and regulating genetic information. RNA is initially transcribed in cells as a polymer of A, C, G and U nucleotides but across all domains of life, from bacteria to humans, cells achieve an alphabet of greater than 100 chemically distinct RNA nucleotides by post-transcriptionally modifying RNA. We are interested in the enzymes that modify RNA: how they specifically recognize and perform chemistry on their substrates. Phenomena such as antibiotic resistance, accuracy in translation of the genetic code and gene regulation all depend on modified RNA. For most RNA modification enzymes, it is not known how they specifically recognize their substrates among the bulk of RNA within the cell. We aim to discover mechanistic themes governing the specificity of these enzymes.
For information about current research projects, check out our Research Page.
The Dunkle Research Group is located in Shelby Hall on the northeast corner of the Science and Engineering Quad at the University of Alabama.