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Sebastian Doniach


Professor Doniach’s research group uses scattering of synchrotron X-rays from electron storage rings at SLAC and at the Argonne National Laboratory to study changes in the conformation of molecules as their solvent environments are changed. The research also involves computer simulations of the dynamics and energetic of the resulting changes. Recent advances in the biology of DNA have shown that a very large part of the genome in eukaryotes codes for small RNA molecules that appear to be central to the way the genes (coding for proteins) are put together. Doniach’s group is currently studying structural changes that occur when some small functional RNAs turn on and off gene expression (riboswitches) without needing to involve protein transcription factors.