The heightened appreciation for the central role of RNA molecules in all cellular processes --- from catalysis to control of gene expression to cellular differentiation --- combined with the practical applications of synthetic RNAs in biomedicine and biomolecular engineering has raised new challenges regarding RNA structure analysis, prediction, and design to both experimental and theoretical scientists. These challenges have produced many innovative approaches, including interdisciplinary efforts, to analyze, predict, simulate, and design RNA molecules. While many successes have been reported, progress in the field has been hampered by limited experimental resolution and an incomplete understanding of RNA tertiary structure, especially for large RNAs. Though RNA structure is believed to be hierarchical, the difficult problem of understanding and predicting its tertiary structure from its primary as well as secondary structure remains unsolved in general.
To advance this important scientific frontier, we will bring leading experimentalists and modelers to discuss and advance the field. We aim to bring together scientists working on both the genomic and molecular levels of RNA using novel experimental, mathematical, statistical, and computational methods. Ideally, these scientists should be broad and appreciative of the many possible disciplinary approaches to the problem. By familiarizing scientists from disparate disciplines with the challenges and presenting current efforts, advances, and ideas, we hope to catalyze new approaches and collaborations in this important field.