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.

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:

  • Zhu, Y.,* Gao, A.,* Zhan, Q., Wang, Y., Feng, H., Liu, S., Gao, G., Serganov, A.,# Gao, P.# Diverse mechanisms of CRISPR-Cas9 inhibition by type IIC anti-CRISPR proteins. Mol. Cell. 2019; 74: 296-309.e7
  • Wang, Y., Shi, M., Feng, H., Zhu, Y., Liu, S., Gao, A., Gao, P. Structural insights into non-canonical ubiquitination catalyzed by SidE. Cell. 2018; 173: 1231-1243.
  • Gao, A., Vasilyev, N., Luciano, D.J., Levenson-Palmer, R., Richards, J., Marsiglia, W.M., Traaseth, N.J., Belasco, J.G., Serganov, A. Structural and kinetic insights into stimulation of RppH-dependent RNA degradation by the metabolic enzyme DapF. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018; 46: 6841-6856.
  • Gao, A. & Serganov, A. Structural insights into recognition of c-di-AMP by the ydaO riboswitch. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2014; 10: 787-792.

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:

  • Weaver, J.W.& Serganov, A. T-box RNA gets boxed. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2019, 26: 1081-3
  • 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.

María Ascensión Ariza Mateos

Postdoctoral Fellow

Maria received a M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Granada (Spain). She did her Ph.D. research on regulation of viral translation in the laboratory of Dr. Jordi Gomez at the Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina López-Neyra (IPBLN-CSIC). She conducted her first postdoc on studies of genetic variability of RNA viruses in the laboratory of Dr. Esteban Domingo at the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo-Ochoa (CSIC-UAM), Madrid, Spain. She is working on determining the molecular basis of Fragile X Syndrome.

A. Ariza-Mateos and J. Gómez. Viral tRNA mimicry from a biocommunicative perspective. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2017; 8: 2395.

A. Ariza-Mateos, R. Díaz-Toledano, T.M. Block, S. Prieto-Vega, A. Birk, J. Gómez. Geneticin stabilizes the opened conformation of the 5′ region of hepatitis C virus RNA and inhibits viral replication. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 2015; 60: 925–935.

A. Ariza-Mateos, S. Prieto-Vega, R. Díaz-Toledano, A. Birk, H. Szeto, I. Mena, A. Berzal-Herranz, J. Gómez. RNA self-cleavage activated by ultraviolet light-induced oxidation. Nucleic Acids Research. 2011; 40: 1748–1766.

Ashok Noothanaganti

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ashok Noothanaganti received a M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry from Kakatiya University (Warangal, India). He conducted Ph.D. research on chemical synthesis and characterization of nucleic acid conjugates in the laboratory of Dr. S. G. Srivatsan at the IISER-Pune. He is currently focused on the development of novel types of antibiotics.

Selected recent publications:

Nuthanakanti, A., Boerneke, M. A., Hermann, T., Srivatsan, S. G. Structure of the ribosomal RNA decoding site containing a selenium-modified responsive fluorescent ribonucleoside probe. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017; 56: 2640–2644.

Nuthanakanti, A., Srivatsan, S. G. Surface-tuned and metal-ion-responsive supramolecular gels based on thymidine nucleolipids ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. 2017; 9: 22864–22874.

Nuthanakanti, A., Srivatsan, S. G. Hierarchical self-assembly of switchable nucleolipid supramolecular gels based on environmentally-sensitive fluorescent nucleoside analogs. Nanoscale. 2016; 8: 3607–3619.

Abhishek Kaushik

Postdoctoral Fellow

Abhishek received a M.Sc. in Microbial Gene Technology from the Madurai Kamaraj University (India). He conducted a Ph.D. study on biochemical and structural characterization of cysteine synthase complex in the laboratory of Dr. S. Kumaran at CSIR-IMTECH (Chandigarh)-Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi). After a short stint with GE Healthcare, he joined the laboratory to develop new antibacterials and study mRNA degradation.

Selected recent publications:

  • Abhishek Kaushik, Mary K. Ekka and S. Kumaran. Two distinct assembly states of cysteine synthase complex are regulated by enzyme-substrate cognate pairs. Biochemistry. 2017; 56: 2385-2399.

  • Appu Kumar Singh*, Mary Krishna Ekka*, Abhishek Kaushik* et al. Facilitated dissociation of competitive inhibitor by substrate reveal a novel competitive-allostery mechanism. *Equal contribution. Biochemistry. 2017; 56: 5011-5025.

Mengjie Liu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Mengjie Liu received a M.Sc. in Biological Science from Lanzhou University. He did his Ph.D. research on the structure of PIKK family kinases using single particle cryo-EM in the laboratory of Prof. Yanhui Xu at Fudan University (Shanghai, China). During his Ph.D., he spent two years to study cryo-EM with Prof. Hongwei Wang at Tsinghua University (Beijing, China). His current research mainly focuses on structural studies of molecular assemblies involved in stress response and transcription using single particle cryo-EM. Mengjie is co-mentored by Alexander Serganov and Evgeny Nudler.

Selected recent publications:

Chen, X. *, Liu, M.*, Tian, Y., Li, J., Qi, Y., Zhao, D., Wu, Z., Huang, M., Wong, C.C., Wang, H. W., Wang, J., Yang, H.#, and Xu, Y. #. Cryo-EM structure of human mTOR complex 2. * Co-first author. Cell Research. 2018; 28: 518-528.

Rao, Q. *, Liu, M.*, Tian, Y., Wu, Z., Hao, Y., Song, L., Qin, Z., Ding, C., Wang, H. W., Wang, J., and Xu, Y. #. Cryo-EM structure of human ATR-ATRIP complex. * Co-first author. Cell Research. 2018; 28: 143-156.

Yin, X.*, Liu, M.*, Tian, Y., Wang, J., and Xu, Y. # Cryo-EM structure of human DNA-PK holoenzyme. * Co-first author. Cell Research. 2017; 27: 1341-1350.

Yang, H.*, Wang, J.*, Liu, M.*, Chen, X.*, Huang, M., Tan, D., Dong, M.Q., Wong, C.C., Wang, J.#, Xu, Y.#, Wang, H.# 4.4 Å Resolution Cryo-EM structure of human mTOR Complex 1. * Co-first author. Protein & Cell. 2016; 7: 878-887.

Wenqian Duan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Wenqian Duan received a B.Sc. in Engineering from Tianjin University of Science & Technology and M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Institute of Microbiology (Chinese Academy of Sciences). She conducted Ph.D. research on viral proteins in the laboratories of Drs. Shi Yi and George Fu Gao at the same institute. She is pursuing structural and biochemical studies of RNA-protein complexes from eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms.

Selected recent publications:

  • Duan, W., Song, H., Wang, H., Chai, Y., Su, C., Qi, J., Shi, Y., Gao, G.F. The crystal structure of Zika virus NS5 reveals conserved drug targets. EMBO J. 2017; 36: 919–933.

Past members

Shivali Patel, graduate student at Yale University

Nikita Vasilyev, mass-spec specialist, New York University

Alla Peselis, analyst, CDM