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Department of Chemistry

Jean Elick PhD.

Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Chair of the Chemistry Department
Office: Achatz Hall 202
Phone: 260-399-7700 x8221 

BS, Tri-State University
MS, Bowling Green State University
PhD, Bowling Green State University

Jean is the chair for the Chemistry Department and teaches introductory chemistry, organic/biochemistry and biochemistry, and is especially interested in the exploration of RNA structure and RNA protein interactions. Her research involves the examination of protein RNA interactions of the Ribozyme RNase P. This enzyme is believed to possess a catalytic RNA. RNase P is an RNA-protein complex found in all life forms and is one of the few ribozymes that is truly catalytic. It functions by cleaving the 5' leader sequence from precursor tRNAs and therefore is important in the most basic processes of viable cells, namely protein synthesis.

When they were first discovered in the 1980's catalytic RNAs caused a commotion within the scientific community, not surprising given the novelty and the complexity of the catalytic RNA. Even today, this area of research continues to be one of the most intense areas of scientific inquiry. Catalytic RNAs have many functional and disease related implications.

Previous research leads us to believe that the RNase P ribozyme interacts with other proteins in the cell to perform unique regulatory functions. Jean's lab is presently screening a cDNA library to search for cellular proteins that interact with the yeast cytoplasmic RNase P. She is excited about the research and expects to expand understanding of the functional role of cytoplasmic RNase P. This research may lead to a more complete understanding of cellular processes that utilize RNA.