Our research focuses on visualizing and understanding ribonucleic acids, or RNAs, that aren't used as templates to make proteins. RNAs are polymers similar to DNA but subtle chemical differences of their composition allow them to fold into elaborate three-dimentional objects and nanomachines, beyond the double-helix shape that DNA form. Complex structures formed by RNA are capable of recognizing and interacting with other molecules in the cell, large and small, with extraordinary affinity and exquisite selectivity, and can even catalyze many chemical reactions. Some viruses are made of RNA, or temporarily take the form of RNA in the cell during their life cycle. We are working to uncover the general principles of how RNA structures are built and organized, how RNA structures move and change their shape, and how RNA interact with proteins and other RNAs in the cell. Such fundamental understanding of RNA will allow new drugs to be developed to modulate these biologically important molecules.