The Hammond lab has a dual focus on engineering nucleic acids as programmable tools for molecular imaging and gene control, and on understanding the chemistry and biology of nucleotide-based signaling molecules in bacteria and mammalian cells.
We are one of the first labs to develop fluorescent biosensors made of RNA for live cell imaging of enzyme activity. These sensors are designed by combining a riboswitch domain, which is an RNA that changes conformation upon binding a small molecule ligand, and a fluorophore-binding domain. Ligand selectivity is dictated by the riboswitch domain and can even be reprogrammed with single nucleotide changes.
3i Bridge/Pillar: Host-Microbe Interactions