The Maher lab studies the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. We are interested in understanding how DNA is bent and looped by proteins, and how this bending is involved in the control of gene expression. These studies involve bacterial, yeast, and mammalian proteins, as well as artificial proteins engineered to test basic principles.
We also study how unnatural DNA and RNA molecules can be selected from random libraries for the ability to tightly bind and inhibit proteins in living cells. These studies seek to develop new approaches to artificial gene regulation in cancer and inflammatory diseases.
Two additional collaborative projects involve i) folded nucleic acid shapes specific for molecules of interest in Multiple Sclerosis, and ii) understanding the genetic and biochemical basis of human familial paraganglioma using model organisms See my lab page for more information about my research.