Dr. Paul Agris has developed beginning undergraduate course for freshman and sophomore biochemistry and other science and non-science majors who lack college chemistry. Course based on molecular evolution allows students to learn chemistry, biochemistry and associated biology simultaneously.
He continues to develop a multidisciplinary course in biophysical chemistry for beginning graduate students and for undergraduate seniors. The course brings instruction and instructors together from the disciplines of biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering, biomath/statistics, microbiology, and physics to teach macromolecular chemistry and structure with regard to function, functional folding of macromolecules, biometals, macromolecular dynamics and motors, functional genomics.
His contributions include nucleic acid chemistry, structure and dynamics to function in gene expression with application to biomedical sciences. Agris has been revising of the rules governing decoding of genomic information: RNA chemistry, structure-function relationships with particular emphasis on the modified nucleosides as protein recognition elements, and effectors of decoding, as tools and targets of intervention, and as facilitators of RNA folding, modification in the design of functioning analogs to RNA as biological tools and targets with potential medical applications (patents licensed); modified nucleoside and metal ion contributions to nucleic acid structure and function; modification dependent, RNA-protein functional interactions modeled with phage display selected peptide recognition of modified RNAs; small molecule inhibitors of tRNA function (patents licensed) and quality control in the synthesis of nucleic acid, oligonucleotide therapeutics (patents licensed).
Agris received his undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry at Bucknell University and his Ph.D in Biochemsitry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At present, he is a professor of Biology and Chemistry and founding director of The RNA Institute.
*Dr. Agris’ research on RNA has been continually funded by NIH, NSF, private foundations and corporations since 1974. At present, he holds two NIH grants and one NSF grant with funding until 2019. In addition, he has a grant from the SUNY Research Foundation.
More information about Dr. Paul Agris can be found on The RNA Institute.