Daniel Herschlag, Ph.D.

Daniel Herschlag


Professor Daniel Herschlag, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biochemistry and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering. The overarching goal of his research is to understand the fundamental behavior of RNA and proteins and, in turn, how these behaviors determine and impact biology and how it has evolved. His lab takes an interdisciplinary approach, spanning and integrating physics, chemistry and biology, and employing a wide range of techniques.

Dan has been at Stanford for 30 years, following graduate work at Brandeis with W.P. Jencks and postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado with Tom Cech. He has identified new concepts in macromolecular folding, in RNA and protein catalysis, and in molecular evolution, and he has uncovered new principles of cellular RNA processing and organization. His research has been highly collaborative and multi-disciplinary. 

Dan has been recognized at Stanford and nationally for his mentoring, and is passionate about graduate education and postdoctoral training. Former trainees include faculty at research and teaching institutions, scientists in biotechnology, and individuals who have pursued creative career paths.


RNA Beyond the Genomic Age

RNAs adopt stable and transient structures, interact with small molecules, and are bound and functionally coordinated by a plethora of proteins, as revealed by two decades of genomic studies. Moving beyond these discoveries and general principles to a predictive understanding of RNA’s roles in biological regulation will require studies on the genomic scale but with the quantitation and rigor of biochemistry. By measuring 1000s of equilibrium dissociation constants (via RNA-MaP), we have developed the first quantitative and comprehensive model for RNA/protein binding thermodynamics. In parallel, we are developing High-throughput Cellular Biochemistry, where we bring together the scale of genomics with the quantitative high-fidelity data of biochemistry to systematically interrogate and understand RNA behaviors and interactions in cells. Initial results will be discussed.