Dr. Roopa Thapar
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology
Research in my laboratory is focused on molecular recognition and assembly of large multi-protein and protein-RNA complexes that play important roles in regulation of RNA-mediated gene expression. We use a multi-disciplinary approach combining structural techniques (NMR, SAXS, X-ray crystallography) with biophysical tools (ITC, CD, DSC, Biacore, fluorescence, and sedimentation equilibrium)as well as biochemical and molecular biological approaches to understand the structures of protein-RNA complexes and the mechanisms by with they are regulated. The specific areas of investigation include characterization of lncRNAs important for NHEJ DNA repair regulation in breast and prostate cancers, lncRNA-DNA repair complexes that regulate double-strand break repair, structure and function of novel family of ERI exoribonucleases, alkylation damage repair of RNA and DNA, and complexes involved in histone mRNA metabolism.
We are also interested in developing small molecule RNA therapeutics that could act as chemical probes to study RNA processes in vivo or may be useful in directly targeting tumors.
Research experience under my supervision would provide students with experience and training in state-of-the-art structural methodologies, RNA biochemistry, protein-RNA and protein-DNA interactions that are important in RNA processing, translation, and DNA repair. We focus on processes that are directly related to human health, tumor initiation and progression.