Research: RNA Structure & Function 

We have various interests in our group and all derive from structure-function relationships in RNA

Oxidative Damage of RNA

Reactive oxygen species may interact with the nucleobases in RNA and modify its structure. Recently a link between oxidative stress on RNA and the development/progression of disease was suggested, however the implications of this relationship is yet to be established. Our goal is to study how oxidative lesions within RNA affect is structure and functional outcomes. Purine rings react with reactive oxygen species to yield the corresponding 8-oxo-7,8-dihydropurine lesions, thus becoming the focus of our initial efforts.

Oxidative Damage of RNA  
We are interested in exploring the effects that either 8-oxoGua or 8-oxoAde have, when present in structural elements that are ubiquitously found in nature as a function of position and number of oxidative modifications. We are using the small-molecule recognition of aptamers of RNA as models to test for the effects of the modifications on functional outcomes. We are interested in using this information to study these effects on micro-RNAs, i.e., biogenesis and function.

Photoactive RNA

The introduction of groups that are responsive to light and other stimuli have the advantage to function as reactive handles that potentially provide control of structure of RNA. The goal is to use these probes to control function of RNA in biological systems.

Photoactive RNA

We are currently using small aromatic molecules that are not expected to disrupt structural aspects of the unmodified RNA, i.e., thiophene, furan, pyrrole, or pyridyl.


We rely on the use of organic synthesis and photochemistry along with various biochemical and biophysical techniques to achieve our goals. In addition, we are using DFT to guide our efforts in the control of function and structure.



We are always looking for motivated individuals that are interested in getting involved in this exciting enterprise. The interdisciplinary nature of the projects will provide a strong foundation for students and professionals with various interests and goals. Contact Prof. Resendiz if you are interested or have any questions about how to get involved.