Welcome to the online home of Watts Lab
What We Do
We work at the interface of synthetic organic chemistry and studies of modulation of gene expression in cells and organisms. We think nucleic acids are about the most amazing molecules out there – what other class of molecule can be synthesized, copied, read and translated? Or which other class of molecule can swap between functional, complex secondary structures and predictable, linear, readable duplex structure? Nucleic acid chemical biology gives us unique opportunities to interact with cellular processes, to treat and diagnose disease. Our goal is to harness chemistry and biology to help make oligonucleotides a major class of drugs.
Graduate student Michael Moazami's image of an antisense oligonucleotide was featured in the the RNA Therapeutics Cell Picture Show and selected for Cell's "Best of 2017 Images." The image will be included in another Cell Picture Show and in the 2018 Cell Press Calendar!
Our work on metabolic labeling of DNA has been supported by a Worcester Foundation grant from UMass Medical School and the Hudson Hoagland Society.
Our new review on the chemical evolution of therapeutic oligonucleotides is now live on the Nature Biotechnology website. It will be part of a special issue on oligonucleotide therapeutics.