Our group combines biochemical and biophysical approaches to study the processes of RNA folding and assembly with proteins. Some of nature's most complex and important enzyme machines are composed of RNA and protein. For these machines to function, each RNA and protein component must fold to its correct three-dimensional structure and all must assemble into a macromolecular complex. The goal of our research is to obtain a quantitative and rigorous molecular understanding of the processes and principles that govern RNA folding and assembly with proteins. We are also interested in RNA chaperones, proteins that are not required for function of the final complex but assist in RNA folding. The approaches used in the lab range from monitoring enzyme activity, which can be a powerful and specific probe for formation of a native structure, to single molecule fluorescence, which allows sensitive detection and characterization of folding and assembly intermediates.