Graduate Student

Research Team Seeks to Develop New Treatments for Cancer, HIV, Alzheimer's

Patrick Walton, CHEMS assoc prof, leads NIH-funded research to develop siRNAs for therapeutics

December 21, 2010

It all began in 1986 when plant scientists set out to get deeper purple petunias but got the complete opposite—white petunias. In the late 1990s, researchers working with fruit flies and C. elegans (a nematode worm commonly used in genetics studies) set out to understand this strange phenomenon.

Their work revealed a new biological pathway, RNA interference (RNAi), which is mediated by short-interfering RNAs (siRNAs).