RNA Engineering

  • Ribozymes
  • Aptamers / Aptazymes
  • Dynamic RNA Assemblies

Functional Studies

  • Ribozymes
  • Aptasensors
  • Riboswitches


  • RNA / DNA
  • RNA / DNA Modifiers
  • Modified Nucleosides
  • Trinucleotide Synthons

Our research program is centered around nucleic acid chemistry and biochemistry with a special focus on functional RNA molecules. We aim to gain insight into mechanistic principles of RNA catalysis, and to extend our understanding of RNA structure-function relation.

For this purpose we employ organic synthetic chemistry along with biochemical and biophysical methods. We use our expertise in the synthesis of natural and modified oligonucleotides, functionalized nucleosides and nucleotides to prepare the nucleic acid systems that we functionally characterize. Moreover, we develop strategies for the site-specific modification of RNA and DNA to provide suitably functionalized molecules (e.g. specifically dye-labeled or chemically modified nucleic acids) for biophysical studies.

A key element of our research is RNA catalysis. We are interested in the development of ribozymes either by rational design or selection in vitro. The strategy involves manipulation of the structure of known ribozymes towards new or at least extended function or de novo design of new RNA catalysts by selection from a random library. The latter method is also used to select aptamers for interaction with specific proteins or other ligands, to study RNA-protein interactions or to sense pre-defined analytes.

Furthermore, we are interested in controlling ribozyme activity in a defined way. For this purpose we work at the development of ribozymes that can be switched or regulated by external stimuli. Several projects are designed to possibly extend into further application in Molecular Biology and Medicine or Diagnostics.