Kenan Distinguished Professor, Chemistry
Area of Interest
Research in the Weeks group lies at the interface of chemistry, biology and genomics. The vision of our laboratory is, first, to invent novel chemical microscopes that reveal quantitative structure and function interrelationships for RNA and, second, to apply these RNA technologies to broadly important problems in biology and cancer. Our work is highly interdisciplinary. Projects in the laboratory meld fundamental basic science chemistry, computational chemistry, and biotechnology development and extend to practical applications in virology, high-throughput RNA structure analysis, and understanding biological processes in cells. Current projects focus on (i) RNA folding and protein assembly reactions central to the replication of human viruses, including HIV and Dengue, (ii) function of biomedically important RNA-protein complexes inside living cells, and (iii) discovery of small molecule ligands, potential drugs, targeted against medically important RNAs.
Awards and Honors
Graduate students in the lab have been named UNC Lineberger, NIH, and National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellows and postdoctoral colleagues have been awarded national, competitive fellowships from the American Cancer Society, the NIH, and the Human Frontiers Program.
- NIH EUREKA Award
- NSF Career Award
- Searle Scholar Award in the Biomedical Sciences
- Research Innovation Award
- Visiting Scholar at the National Institutes of Health
- Plenary lectureships at technology and HIV conferences
- North Carolina Health & Life Sciences Promise for Tomorrow Award, 2009