Dr. Richard Maraia is a Senior Investigator and Head of the Section on Molecular and Cell Biology in the Intramural Research Program of the NICHD. Dr. Maraia directs a basic research program in Molecular Genetics that seeks to understand the influences of genetics, biochemistry and cell biology on the programmed metabolism of small nuclear RNAs and messenger RNAs, and how this contributes to growth and development. Of molecular interest is the structural plasticity of the human La antigen and related proteins in their ability to accommodate specific binding to a variety of RNAs that differ in sequence and structure. A major interest is in the biogenesis and metabolism of transfer RNAs, the genetic adapters that translate the genetic code, and the influences of their dynamics and relative abundances on codon bias-driven genetic programs involved in normal growth and in response to the physiologic states of stress and disease.
Dr. Maraia received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Columbia University and his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He obtained specialty training in Pediatrics at The New York Hospital and in Medical Genetics at the NIH. Dr. Maraia's service currently includes Chairmanship of the NIH Regional RNA Club since 2005, and the International Biennial Conference on RNA Polymerases I & III (2010 & 2012), and he is the first President elect of the La and Related Protein (LARP) Society (2010-2014).