Chemistry 1 3 175
Emil Khisamutdinov

Emil Khisamutdinov

Assistant Professor

CP 305N  Phone: 765-285-8084  

Department of Chemistry
Ball State University
Cooper Physical Science Building, room 305
Muncie, IN 47306

Nanobiotechnology Center, Markey Cancer Center, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky (2014)
Bowling Green State University Ph.D. (2012)
National University of Uzbekistan M.S. (2007
National University of Uzbekistan B.S. (2005)

Research summary:

Our laboratory is focused on RNA nanotechnology and involves the design, construction, and application of RNA based nanoparticles. RNA nanotechnology is a vigorous, and rapidly emerging with strong potential for application in diverse fields from nanoelectronics to nanomedicine. RNA molecules not only encode genetic information, but they actively participate in various intracellular functions including gene expression regulation through sophisticated mechanisms; thereby expanding its traditional role as a genetic messenger and revealing it as a functionally versatile molecule. Small interfering and microRNAs (siRNAs and miRNAs, respectively), ribozymes, rib switches, ribosomal RNA, transport RNA (tRNA) are only a few examples of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) elements that play diverse roles in mediating gene expression. To achieve their functions, RNAs fold into a complex three dimensional (3D) architectures. Inspired by these natural 3D RNA elements, the development of artificial or reengineered RNA nanoparticles that will efficiently function in variety of intracellular processes as “smart” nanodevises is our main research interest.


Our research projects are highly interdisciplinary and combine chemistry, biology, physics and material science. Our ultimate goal is the development of new strategies for controlled self-assembly of functional RNA nanoparticles with implications in areas as diverse as nanoelectronics, biosencing, and nanomedicine. Our projects provide students with extensive training in RNA 3D design and with various biochemical techniques including DNA/RNA labeling, PCR, RNA synthesis (in vitro transcription), gel electrophoresis, protein over expression and isolation, Fluorescent and UV- Vis spectroscopy, UV-melting, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM).

  1. Nanobiotechnology. In this project, we implement three basic RNA nanotechnology approaches to construct functional and robust RNA nanoparticles. (i) Computational approach includes in silico (computer-aided) design of RNA nanoobjects (2D and 3D geometries) using naturally occurring RNA building blocks. (ii) Experimental approach includes RNA synthesis, self-assembly, and structural characterization of the designed RNA nanoparticles. Lastly (iii), depending on the choice of application, these nanoparticles can be functionalized with various of biologically active compounds, used as a nanocontainers, utilized in construction of patterned arrays etc. (Figure 1).figure1
  2. RNA computing. The creation of the biomolecule-based computer is one of the most challenging yet fascinating tasks in synthetic biology and has intrigued great research attention. The major components of a computing device include an arithmetic logic unit, the control unit, memory, and inputs/outputs. The driving core of the fully operational computer system lies at the basis of Boolean logic gates and, therefore, to create a biocomputer one has to first generate biomolecular logic gates. RNA molecule is an attractive material for this due to its functional and structural diversity. We implement RNA nanotechnology to construct nanoparticles that are able to perform complex logic gate operations (Figure 2). The goal is to achieve RNA logic system with high yield of output readouts given a set of inputs. Figure 2. Examples of AND, NOR, and NAND Boolean logic gates. figure2

Selected publication:

  1. Emil F. Khisamutdinov, Hui Li, Daniel L. Jasinski, Jiao Chen, Jian Fu, and Peixuan Guo. Enhancing Immunomodulation on Innate Immunity by Shape Transition Among RNA Triangle, Square, and Pentagon Nanovehicles. Nucleic Acids Research, 2014, doi: 10.1093/nar/gku516
  2. Emil F. Khisamutdinov, Daniel L. Jasinski, and Peixuan Guo. RNA as a Boiling-Resistant Anionic Polymer Material To Build Robust Structures with Defined Shape and Stoichiometry. ACS Nano, 2014, 8(5), pp 4771–4781 (editor's choice)
  3. Daniel L. Jasinski, Emil F. Khisamutdinov, and Peixuan Guo. Physicochemically Tunable Polyfunctionalized RNA Square Architecture with Fluorogenic and Ribozymatic Properties Properties ACS Nano, 2014, DOI: 10.1021/nn502160s (co-first author)
  4. Meikang Qiu, Emil F. Khisamutdinov, Zhengyi Zhao, Cheryl Pan, Jeong-Woo Choi, Neocles B. Leontis, Peixuan Guo. RNA nanotechnology for computer design and in vivo computation. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 2013 , 371: pp1471-2962
  5. Neocles B. Leontis and Emil F. Khisamutdinov. RNA Nanotechnology: Learning from Biologically active RNA Nano-machines. In “RNA Nanotechnology and Therapeutics” edited by P. Guo and F. Haque. CRC press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2013, Chapter #4; 73-108
  6. Zhao Zhengyi, Emil F. Khisamutdinov, Chad Schwartz, and Peixuan Guo. Mechanism of One-Way Traffic of Hexameric Phi29 DNA Packaging Motor with Four Electropositive Relaying Layers Facilitating Antiparallel Revolution. ACS Nano. 2013, 28;7(5):4082-92 (co-first author)