The image to the right shows two computer program-predicted RNA 3-Dimensional structures (blue) superimposed with their respective X-ray crystallized native structures (green). The two RNAs, 3D2G (riboswitch, 77 nts) and 1DK1 (S15 rRNA Chain B, 57 nts), were among many RNA chains whose 3D structures were predicted with programs recently developed by the RNA Informatics Lab at the University of Georgia. On these two RNAs, the prediction achieved the root-mean-square-deviations (RMSDs) of 3.85Å and 1.35Å, respectively.

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), such as the aforementioned two molecules, are RNAs that are not translated into proteins, which have been shown to be involved in many biological processes including gene regulation, chromosome replication, and RNA modification. The number of ncRNAs found has grown fast. There is an urgent need yet a signifncant challenge to understand cellular functions and evolutionary relationships of ncRNAs. In particular, large, complex ncRNAs pose difficult issues in bioinformatics solutions to ncRNA structure and gene predictions. Development of novel methods that permit accurate and efficient prediction of ncRNA genes and 3D structures are the major research objectives in the RNA-Informatics Lab. In particular, the methodlogy studies by the lab have often drawn techniques from and made advancements in algorithmic graph structure theory, parameterized algorithmics, computational linguistics, and machine learning research.

The RNA-Informatics Research Lab is co-directed by Professors Liming Cai of Computer Science Department and Russell Malmberg of Plant Biology Department.

Last updated September 2014