Alexander Serganov

Principal Investigator

Alexander Serganov joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology of NYU School of Medicine in May 2011. He graduated from the Moscow State University with a B.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology. During his Ph.D. studies he split his time between the Maria Garber laboratory at the Institute of Protein Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushchino, Russia), the Bernard Ehresmann laboratory at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (Strasbourg, France), and the Claude Portier laboratory at the Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology (Paris, France). His Ph.D. work focused on the regulation of gene expression during ribosome biogenesis. He continued his studies as a postdoc in the Ehresmann laboratory. He then joined Dinshaw J. Patel’s laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA) to study molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated catalysis and gene expression control. He championed several seminal projects including the first three-dimensional structures of the non-coding regulatory RNA elements termed riboswitches and the first structure of a ribozyme catalyzing a synthetic reaction.

Nikita Vasilyev

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nikita Vasilyev received a M.Sc. degree in Biology from the Moscow State University. He performed his Ph.D. work on the structure and function of viral RNA polymerase in the Alexander Chetverin laboratory at the Institute of Protein Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushchino, Russia). His current research focuses on RNA-protein complexes associated with RNA degradation and neurological diseases. He also pursues studies of bacterial RNA polymerase.

Selected recent publications:

  • Vasilyev, N. & Serganov, A. Crystal structures of Escherichia coli RppH-RNA complexes unveil the basis for specific initiation of 5′-end-dependent mRNA decay. J. Biol. Chem. 2015, 290: 9487-9499.
  • Vasilyev, N., Polonskaia, A., Darnell,, J., Darnell, R., Patel,, D.J. & Serganov, A. Crystal structure reveals specific recognition of a G-quadruplex RNA by a β-turn in the RGG motif of FMRP. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2015, 112: E5391-400.
  • Vasilyev, N.N., Kutlubaeva, Z.S., Ugarov, V.I., Chetverina, H.V., Chetverin, A.B. Ribosomal protein S1 functions as a termination factor in RNA synthesis by Qβ phage replicase. Nat. Commun.2013; 4: 1781.

Ang Gao

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ang Gao received a M.Sc. in Microbiology from Shandong University. She carried out her Ph.D. research on the structure and catalysis of enzymes associated with bacterial quorum sensing in the laboratory of Dongcai Liang at the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing, China). She currently conducts studies on non-coding RNAs as well as degradation and post-transcriptional modification of mRNA in bacteria and eukaryotes.

Selected recent publications:

  • Peselis, A., Gao, A., Serganov, A. Preparation and crystallization of riboswitches. Methods Mol. Biol. 2016; 1320: 21-36.
  • Gao, A. & Serganov, A. Structural insights into recognition of c-di-AMP by the ydaO riboswitch. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2014; 10: 787-792.
  • Gao, A. et al. & Liang, D. High-resolution structures of AidH complexes provide insights into a novel catalytic mechanism of N-acyl homoserine lactonase. Acta Crystallographica Section D.2013; 69 (Pt 1): 82-91.

Alla Peselis

Graduate Student

Alla Peselis received a M.Sc. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Rhode Island. She joined the Serganov laboratory as a technician to work on the structure and function of riboswitches. Shortly thereafter she decided to pursue a Ph.D. on the study of the long non-coding RNA Rmrp involved in the activation of the inflammatory response in lymphocytes.

Selected recent publications:

  • Ren, A., Xue, Y., Peselis, A., Serganov, A., Al-Hashimi, H.M. and Patel, D. J., Long-range ‘linchpin’ G-C pair formation in the glnA riboswitch highlights a molecular signature of a ligand-dependent tertiary RNA switch. Cell Rep. 2015; 13: 1800-13.
  • Peselis, A. & Serganov, A. Structure and function of pseudoknots involved in gene expression control. WIREs RNA 2014; 5: 803-22.
  • Peselis, A. & Serganov, A. Structural insights into ligand binding and gene expression control by an adenosylcobalamin riboswitch. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol., 2012; 19: 1182-1184.

Jacob Weaver

Graduate Student

Jacob Weaver graduated from the University of Rochester and worked as a research technician in the laboratory of Michelle Dziejman at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (Rochester, NY). Jacob was involved in studies of transcriptional regulation of Vibrio cholerae virulence genes. Currently, he conducts cryo-EM studies of macromolecular assemblies between bacterial RNA polymerase and associated factors.

Selected recent publications:

  • Miller, K.A., Sofia, M.K., Weaver, J.W., Seward, C.H. & Dziejman, M. Regulation by ToxR-like proteins converges on vttRB expression to control type 3 secretion system-dependent Caco2-BBE cytotoxicity in Vibrio cholerae. J. Bacteriol., 2016; 198: 1675-82.
  • Chaand, M., Miller, K.A., Sofia, M.K., Schlesener, C., Weaver, J.W., Sood, V. & Dziejman, M. Type 3 secretion system island encoded proteins required for colonization by non-O1/non-O139 serogroup V. cholerae. Infect. Immun. 2015; 83: 2862-9.

Shivali Patel

Research Associate

Shivali Patel graduated from the New York University and joined the Serganov laboratory after working in the lab as a volunteer undergraduate student for two years. Shivali uses X-ray crystallography and biochemical approaches to study RNA-protein complexes involved in Fragile X syndrome and related neurological disorders.