Chemistry and Biochemistry
The Hermann laboratory uses structure information as a guide to design RNA and RNA-DNA hybrid nanostructures that self-assemble from small nucleic acid motifs and serve as combinatorial platforms for functionalization. Our lab was first to characterize RNA nanostructures by X-ray crystallography. One focus of our efforts is the integration of additive and subtractive methods to enable precise fabrication of nucleic acid nanostructures with molecular features at the sub-10nm scale. By drawing inspiration from organic molecular synthesis, we approach the preparation of nucleic acid nanostructures as a multistep noncovalent transformation that harnesses thermodynamics of self-assembly pathways to sequentially process information stored in the constituent modules towards creation of a desired complex architecture.