About the Martin Lab

The Martin Lab has a long standing interest in understanding fundamental mechanisms in the complex process of transcription. Recently, with the explosion of research in RNA biology and in RNA therapeutics, we have begun harnessing our expertise towards developing improved approaches to synthesizing high quality RNA in vitro.

The initial successes of mRNA-based vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 has raised substantially the prospects both for mRNA-based vaccines, generally, and for mRNA (gene replacement) therapies, more broadly. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry highlights the already appreciated potential of CRISPR-based therapies and diagnostics. The need for high quality, high yield mRNA and CRISPR guide RNA is huge and will continue to expand rapidly into the future (also stay tuned for advances in lncRNA biology, and ensuing therapeutics!).

T7 RNA polymerase: This single subunit enzyme is widely used to prepare RNA at a variety of scales. T7 RNA polymerase also has presented a model system for studying fundamental features of the transcription of RNA from a DNA template, a key process in life’s Central Dogma, and a complex molecular process. The Martin lab aims to exploit our expertise in mechanistic studies of this system towards improving the way it is used to produce RNA. This has begun with a more detailed understanding of how transcription “goes wrong,” particularly when pushed under high yield reactions (hint: it’s all about Le Chatelier!). Based on that understanding, we have developed some initial approaches towards improving both yield and quality.