Bruker Corporation

04/08/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/08/2024 11:11

Guenther Laukien Prize Awarded to Professor Hashim M. Al-Hashimi

Dr. Al-Hashimi has made significant contributions to the field of NMR spectroscopy, particularly in the study of nucleic acids, including methods exploiting residual dipolar couplings developed by his lab to study cooperative RNA motions, as well as relaxation techniques to study minor populated states in DNA. His work has led to the discovery of many of the ubiquitous motional modes underlying the biological activities of nucleic acids, with important implications for drug discovery. His discoveries related to transiently populated states in stable double stranded DNA helped to understand the occurrence of disease related DNA replication errors, explaining mechanisms that cause genome instability and cancer.

Hashim's research has reshaped structural biology, revealing dynamic ensembles as a fundamental behavior of biomolecules, which is necessary to understand and predict cellular activity quantitatively. His group has developed methods harnessing the predictive power of RNA dynamic ensembles to identify small molecule inhibitors of HIV-1 replication.

Currently, the Al-Hashimi lab is using dynamic ensembles to reconstitute the folding and cellular activities of viral and non-coding RNAs, to determine the role of DNA structural dynamics in shaping the probabilities of mutagenesis and cancer, and to rationally design inhibitors targeting viral RNA regulatory elements in HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, as well as in non-coding RNAs involved in cancer.

The Al-Hashimi laboratory's overarching goals include quantitatively understanding the mechanisms that lead to genomic instability; how RNA folds into 3D structures at the atomic level; and to develop RNA- and DNA-targeting small molecule therapeutics to address diseases from AIDS to cancer.