Welcome to the Laboratory of Dr. Hong Li
Our lab is located in the Kasha Laboratory Building in the Institute of Molecular Biophysics.
Our research is concerned with the structure mechanisms at atomic levels of large molecular assemblies that form during gene expression and regulation processes.
Primarily based on X-ray crystallographic methods, we use a multi-disciplinary approach to probe the functional roles of large molecular assemblies. Three-dimensional structures of biological molecules provide us with a wealth of atomic details along specific functional pathways that are further analyzed by biochemical, genetic, and theoretical methods. Our goal is to be able to understand, and ultimately to predict, the physical and chemical principles governing molecular recognition and catalytic processes of the assemblies.
A diverse range of RNA:protein, RNA:RNA and protein:protein interactions occur at the level of transcription and translation as well as post-transcriptional modifications. RNA:protein interactions are particularly interesting not only because they play important functional roles in assembly and biological processes, but also because the rules of their interactions are still poorly understood owing to the scarce structural data. Unlike DNA molecules, RNA can fold into a range of structures for interacting with proteins and small molecules. We hope, by providing exceptionally detailed images of the molecular events along the assembly and functional pathways, to unveil the underlying basis for assembly and functions involving RNA and partner proteins.