Thompson, Michael C.

Michael is a second year trainee and is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  His research mentor is Dr. Todd Yeates.  He received a B.A. degree in 2008 from UC Berkeley.

Mentor: Dr. Todd Yeates

Research project:

The goal of this project is to develop a tool that will be used to aid in the crystallographic structure determination of RNA molecules that have been resistant to conventional methods of crystallization and phase determination. This reagent will make use of the phenomenon known as 'synthetic symmetry' applied to the small RNA-binding protein U1A, which will be engineered to bind to one or more lanthanide atoms. The 'synthetic symmetry' present in the reagent will be imparted upon the RNA molecules to which it binds, thereby promoting crystallization of those RNA molecules. Additionally, the reagent will allow for simple and efficient phasing by isomorphous replacement and/or anomalous scattering methods due to the presence of lanthanide atoms.