Ian J. MacRae, Ph.D.

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Integrative Computational and Structural Biology
Institution
Scripps Research Institute
Address
10550 North Torrey Pines Rd., MB-45
City, State, Zip
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone
(858) 784-2932
E-mail
macrae[at]scripps.edu
Website
http://www.scripps.edu/macrae/macrae_lab.html
Research Field
Biochemistry; Structural Biology
Award Year
2008

Research

We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying RNA interference (RNAi) and related RNA silencing processes. Our approach is to combine techniques in structural biology with biochemistry and cell biology in order to understand the mechanistic details of RNAi. On the molecular level RNAi is mediated by a family of ribonucleo-protein complexes called RNA-Induced Silencing Complexes (RISCs), which silence genes by mediating translational repression and degradation of targeted message RNAs. The versatility and power of RNAi arises from the fact that RISC can be programmed to target any nucleic acid sequence for silencing. RISC programming is therefore a critical cellular function, requiring the action of a specialized macromolecular assembly called the RISC-loading complex (RLC). Our current research is focused on illuminating the structure and catalytic mechanism of the RLC with the hope that this knowledge will facilitate the development of RNAi-based therapeutics for the treatment of human disease.