- One goal of my lab is to define the mechanism by which telomeres mediate chromosomal end protection and telomerase action using structural and biochemical tools. Understanding the mechanism of telomere maintenance is important in understanding the complex biological processes of cancer and aging. This has included detailed characterization of the proteins that bind the conserved single-stranded overhang at telomeres to understand both how their unique affinities and specificities are achieved as well as the biological roles for these activities. In the course of these studies, we have identified novel implementations of plasticity in recognition. The study of the mechanisms underlying this malleability have become related focus of our lab. A second goal of my lab is to understand the protein interactions that mediate the activities of long non-coding RNAs. It has come as a huge surprise that the majority of the human genome is actively transcribed.