Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Computational & Molecular Biophysics)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The three dimensional arrangement of nucleotides in RNA molecules are indispensable for their biological function. However, the rules and relationships that define how RNA “folds” into these biologically relevant conformations, or states, is poorly understood. In order to examine how cations and proteins can influence this process, I focused on measuring the folding process of a 60mer fragment of the GTPase center of the large subunit of the ribosome. The folding pathway was interrogated with a wide spectrum of biophysical techniques. We elucidated a six state divalent ion induced folding pathway and an allosteric mechanism underlying the binding of the L11 protein. This work establishes the remarkable complexity of RNA folding and binding of this particular molecule, and suggests that multi-state folding pathways might not be the exception, but the rule.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Kathleen B. Hall

Committee Members

Gary Stormo, Elliot Elson, Roberto Galletto, Hani Zaher,


Permanent URL:

Available for download on Thursday, September 26, 2120

Included in

Biophysics Commons