Research

The central theme of the Piccirilli Lab is RNA biochemistry and structural biology. The lab is especially interested in RNA catalysis and non-coding RNAs. Currently our research spans ribozymes, riboswitches, mechanisms of splicing, siRNA delivery in cells. We have pioneered the technique of Chaperone-Assisted RNA Crystallography (CARC), which involved in-vitro selection of Fragments of Antibody binding RNA, which promises a pipeline for efficient RNA crystallography. We are also actively pursuing mechanistic studies on the Spliceosome- an RNA-protein machinery which carries out pre-mRNA splicing in eukaryotes. In collaboration with the Harris Lab at Case Western Reserve University, we are trying to elucidate the detailed mechanism of catalysis by the Hepatatitis Delta Virus (HDV) ribozyme using Kinetic Isopote effects. In collaboration with the Lengyel Lab, we are developing techniques for detecting malignant tumors in Ovarian Cancer, usingĀ  receptor-mediated internalization of imaging agents.