Peter V. Cornish

Peter Cornish


Associate Professor

Biochemistry - School of Medicine

Director of Graduate Admissions

Biochemistry - School of Medicine

Director – Life Sciences Fellowship Program

Bond Life Sciences Center

Research at a glance

Area(s) of Expertise

Research Summary

RNA biochemistry, Single molecule FRET, NMR, RNA biochemistry, Ribosome function and dynamics, Optical Tweezers.

Research in our laboratory is primarily focused on understanding the complexities of ribosome function using a variety of biophysical methods including NMR and single molecule techniques. One of our projects is in understanding translational regulation in particular the mechanism of recoding where the ribosome shifts reading frame due to the presence of specific structures within the mRNA. Recoding has been observed in all forms of life and has been shown to be essential for the viability of many viruses including HIV-1 and SARS coronavirus. We are also contributing to the ongoing effort of developing antiviral small molecules that specifically target stimulatory elements required for recoding. Another interest in our laboratory is in determining how the complex conformational motions of the ribosome relate to its function using single molecule FRET. Mutations within the ribosome or defects in ribosomal assembly affect its function, which has been associated with many diseases. Understanding how these diseases affect ribosomal motions should lead to the development of novel treatments. In the future, we plan to extend single molecule techniques to the study of other biological system as well as develop more sophisticated methods to address them.

Education background

  • Ph.D. Biochemistry, Texas A&M University
  • B.S. Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, Graceland University