Thomas Hermann

Chemistry and Biochemistry


Research Focus
Nucleic Acid Nanotechnology; RNA-DNA hybrid nanostructures; Synthetic methods development for composite soft materials; Structure-guided design of nanomaterials

Research Summary

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.


Thomas Hermann
Lab Website


Professor Hermann studied chemistry at the University of Ulm in Germany and performed graduate research at the Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried. He received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich in 1996. Subsequently, he worked as a postdoc at the CNRS in Strasbourg, France, and the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. In 2005, he joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego where he currently is a professor. Thomas is a founding director of the Center for Drug Discovery Innovation and has served as the Associate Dean for Education and Students in the School of Physical Sciences since 2018.