Peter Unrau



  • B.Sc., McMaster University
  • Ph.D., M.I.T. 


Peter Unrau’s education includes a B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics from McMaster University (1992) and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from MIT (1996). Following his graduation from MIT, Peter became interested in the emerging field of RNA catalysis and decided to join David Bartel’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. His work there, which includes isolating the first RNA nucleotide synthase ribozyme, has been cited numerous times in the literature as a highly significant contribution to the RNA catalysis field.

In 2001, Peter joined the faculty at Simon Fraser University where, with the help of his bright and energetic lab members, he runs an active research program in the area of RNA catalysis. He is currently Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University, a Michael Smith Foundation Senior Scholar, and a member of the Faculty of 1000.

Selected Publications: 

  • SSS Panchapakesan, SCY Jeng, PJ Unrau. RNA complex purification using high-affinity fluorescent RNA aptamer tags. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2015.
  • EV Dolgosheina, SCY Jeng, SSS Panchapakesan, R Cojocaru et al. RNA Mango Aptamer-Fluorophore: A Bright, High-Affinity Complex for RNA Labeling and Tracking. ACS chemical biology, 2014.
  • SSS Panchapakesan, PJ Unrau. E. coli 6S RNA release from RNA polymerase requires s70 ejection by scrunching and is orchestrated by a conserved RNA hairpin. RNA, 2012.

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