The Breaker Laboratory is exploring the enormous diversity of noncoding RNAs and DNAs. New functions for nucleic acids can be created by using “test-tube evolution” strategies to create new receptors and enzymes. Also, natural RNAs with critical functions can be found by searching for nucleotide sequences and structures that are conserved in modern organisms.

Of special interest are ribozymes and riboswitches - RNA molecules that catalyze chemical reactions or that serve as chemical sensors and gene control elements. We employ a wide range of bioinformatics, genetics, and biochemical techniques to discover and study these functional RNAs - some of which might be ‘molecular relics’ from primitive life forms that have been extinct for billions of years.

The Breaker Lab is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Research activities have also been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.


December 8, 2017
Please join us in congratulating Madeline Sherlock who will be recognized at the 2018 RNA conference as a winner of the 2018 RNA Society/Scaringe Award. The conference will...
October 27, 2017
Etienne Greenlee receives the Prize Teaching Fellowships which recognizes his outstanding performance and promise as a teacher. This is considered among the most...
September 5, 2017
Ron Breaker, a 1996 Beckman Young Investigator, has just completed his two year term as an Executive Committee member of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Ron...