RNA Faculty Spotlight – Charlie Brooks, Biophysics and Chemistry

Charles L. Brooks III
Cyrus Levinthal Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics
Warner-Lambert/Park-Davis Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Biophysics, Director of Biophysics

Our group studies RNA structure, dynamics and folding using both all atom and coarse grained models. Current interests involve the assembly of the ribosome and it’s functional dynamics, the folding of complex RNA junction topologies, pH effects in RNA catalysis and protein-RNA/DNA interactions in translation and transcription.
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Follow on Twitter: @TheBrooksLab


  • What are your research interests? Theoretical and computational statistical mechanics and quantum chemistry directed toward developing a deeper understanding the sequence-structure-function relationships in biological macromolecules.


  • Who/what brought you to science? I have always been enamored with understanding how nature works and how we express that understanding through logic and mathematics. Since my early days in grade school and high school I was directed to science.


  • What advice would you give to students who’d like to get more involved in research? Read the literature, find problems that excite your passions and pursue them!


  • Are there any opportunities for students to engage in your projects, currently or in the future? We actively engage students at all levels, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate to join our group and identify research areas that excite them to pursue.


  • What skills would they need, and what could they expect to learn? The most relevant skill set is some foundation in statistical thermodynamics, bioinformatics and a strong desire to learn. Those individuals working in our group typically gain skills in basic aspects of computer programming, modern methods of computer simulation in applications to a range of questions, techniques of machine learning applied to biologically relevant questions.


  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?Professional chef as part of a working restaurant and winery.

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