- Life Processes
Prospective Graduate Students
|2024||Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame|
|2019-2023||Postdoctoral Research Associate, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School|
|2018||Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Chicago|
|2013||M.S. in Chemistry, University of Chicago|
|2012||M.Sc. in Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay|
|2010||B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Calcutta|
2023 Postdoctoral Fellow Career Development Grant (Massachusetts General Hospital)
2020 German Association for Synthetic Biology Best Presentation Award
2019 Sigma Xi Honor Society
2016 ACS Chemical Biology Outstanding Poster Award
RNA plays a crucial role in biology, and its significance continues to grow as new discoveries are made. The DasGupta lab will focus on a holistic exploration of RNA. We will investigate RNA structure, function, and evolution. By studying its structure, we will explore how its three-dimensional shape influences its function and its interactions with other biomolecules. We are deeply interested in a special class of RNA molecules, called Ribozymes, that show catalytic activity. We will use biochemistry, high-throughput sequencing, and structural biology approaches to understand how this special class of RNA molecules catalyze chemical reactions when most RNAs do not. We are also interested in the evolutionary processes that allow RNA molecules to adapt to new functions like enzyme catalysis or ligand binding (as in aptamers). We will routinely use combinatorial techniques like in vitro selection and directed evolution to discover RNAs de novo that perform functions not found in biology.
In addition to its many biological roles, RNA bears a profound weight of biological history. It is widely accepted that the earliest forms of life on Earth (~3.8 bya) used RNA to constitute their genomes and as enzymes. Understanding the capabilities of RNA is thus crucial for unraveling the mysteries surrounding life's origins and advancing our knowledge of early evolutionary processes. The DasGupta lab aims to create synthetic models of the earliest cells that show life-life behaviors such as growth, division, competition, and ultimately Darwinian evolution to understand how life emerged from non-living matter. These studies will reveal fundamental physical and chemical principles underlying biology. We are also invested in using evolutionary approaches to develop RNA-based technologies to probe largely unexplored areas of RNA biology. This includes generating reagents to interrogate the biologies of RNA cleavage and non-canonical RNA capping, and generating aptamer-based biosensors.
- DasGupta, S.; Zhang, S. J.; Smela, M. P. and Szostak, J. W. "RNA-Catalyzed RNA Ligation within Prebiotically Plausible Model Protocells" 2023 Chemistry-A European Journal, e202301376. DOI: 10.1002/chem.202301376.
- Muller, U. F.; Elsila, J.; Trail, D.; DasGupta, S.; Giese, C. C.; Walton, C. R.; Cohen, Z. R.; Stolar, T.; Krishnamurthy, R.; Lyons, T. W.; Rogers, K. L. and Williams, L. D. "Frontiers in Prebiotic Chemistry and Early Earth Environments" 2022 Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 52 (1-3), pp.165-181. DOI: 10.1007/s11084-022-09622-x.
- Weiss, Z. and DasGupta, S. "REVERSE: A User-Friendly Web Server for Analyzing Next-Generation Sequencing Data from in Vitro Selection/Evolution Experiments" 2022 Nucleic Acids Research, 50 (W1), pp.W639-W650. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkac508.
- Radakovic, A.; DasGupta, S.; Wright, T. H.; Aitken, H. and Szostak, J. W. "Nonenzymatic Assembly of Active Chimeric Ribozymes from Aminoacylated RNA Oligonucleotides" 2022 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119 (7), e2116840119. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2116840119.
- DasGupta, S. "Molecular Crowding and RNA Catalysis" 2020 Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 18 (39), pp.7724-7739. DOI: 10.1039/d0ob01695k.
- DasGupta, S.; Suslov, N. B. and Piccirilli, J. A. "Structural Basis for Substrate Helix Remodeling and Cleavage Loop Activation in the Varkud Satellite Ribozyme" 2017 Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139 (28), pp.9591-9597. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b03655.