Targeting disease-causing RNA with small molecules

Project Description : 

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are a novel class of biomolecules implicated in many important biological processes and that are often misregulated in various diseases. While small molecules can bind and modulate these ncRNAs, successful targeting can be challenging. The Hargrove Lab is screening diverse small molecule libraries to assess binding selectivity for various RNA targets, including the HIV-1 Transactivation Response Element. By identifying and analyzing selective RNA:small molecule interactions, we are developing rational RNA-targeting approaches that can be applied to disease-driving ncRNAs.

We are seeking an undergraduate researcher to work with a graduate student mentor in the identification and analysis of these RNA:small molecule interactions. Suitable candidates will have a strong interest in working at the interface of chemistry and biology and be dedicated, hard-working, and detail-oriented.

For students interested in attending graduate school, this experience can ultimately help in choosing a field to pursue in graduate school. Additionally, the Hargrove lab emphasizes mentoring and professional development of all of its members, so undergraduate students are expected to attend seminars, present posters, and give talks about their research. These experiences greatly improve the students’ communication skills and can benefit students aspiring to pursue graduate and/or medical school careers.

Preferably, the student would be a rising sophomore or junior chemistry major with a strong interest in organic chemistry and chemical biology. Applicants should have good problem-solving and time management skills, finished at least Organic I course, and be interested in pursuing an undergraduate thesis based on this project. Interested students should include their major/intended major, chemistry courses taken, reasons for wishing to work on this project, and future career plans in their application.

Name of Lab: 

Hargrove Lab

Lab website: 

https://chem.duke.edu/labs/hargrove
Logistics Information

Expected number of students to be accepted to position: 

2

Student Ranks Applicable: 

Hours Per Week: 

Compensation: 

Contact Information

PI Name: 

Amanda Hargrove

PI Email: 

amanda.hargrove@duke.edu

Contact Person: 

Amanda Hargrove

Contact Position: 

PI

Contact Email: 

amanda.hargrove@duke.edu