Assistant Research Professor
Dr. Vadim Molodtsov is a Research Associate in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now a medical school in Rutgers University). In his thesis work, Vadim used T7 RNA polymerase in in vitro transcription assays to understand the mechanism of transcript slippage, a deleterious mode of transcription, during elongation. He discovered that transcript slippage is required for transcription termination at intrinsic termination signals. After completion of his Ph.D., Vadim joined the laboratory of Dr. Katsu Murakami as a postdoctoral researcher in 2010. Here, he began studying the molecular mechanisms of transcription in bacterial multi-subunit RNA polymerases using methods of structural biology. Vadim’s current projects include studying the mechanisms of Rifampin resistance and developing new inhibitors of bacterial RNA polymerases, identification of the mechanisms of transcription regulation through the secondary channel of RNA polymerase, deciphering the mechanism of regulation of gene expression by transcript slippage, and many others.
Mohammad Zuhaib Qayyum
Mohammad Zuhaib Qayyum is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his PhD in biochemistry from Manipal University (supervisor: Dr. Ranjan Sen) while working at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in India. For his thesis work, Zuhaib investigated the in-vitro and in-vivo requirements, and the subsequent regulation of Rho-dependent transcription termination in bacteria. He also investigated the role of transcription elongation factor NusA in Rho-dependent termination. Using biochemical assays to monitor the stability of ECs with different NusA mutants, he proposed that NusA serves as a general antagonist of Rho. He then joined as a postdoc at Penn State University in 2016 (supervisors: Prof. Katsuhiko S. Murakami), and is currently pursuing the structure determination of bacterial and archaeal transcription complexes using X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy.
Shoko Murakami received Ph.D. degree from the Penn State University in 2007. She joined the Murakami group as a research associate in 2016.
BMMB Graduate Student
Catherine Sutherland is a PhD student from Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology program at Pennsylvania State University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY (Mentor: Dr. Gaia Bistulfi). She joined the Murakami lab in January 2016 and is currently studying rifampicin resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis RNA polymerase and the compensatory mutations that decrease the fitness cost of resistance.
BMMB Graduate Student
Yeonoh Shin is a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his B.S. degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences and M.S. degree in Biomedical Sciences from Thomas Jefferson University. He joined Dr. Murakami’s lab at 2015, and currently he is studying the mechanism of reiterative transcription using biochemical and structural approaches.
BMB Undergraduate Student
Wenxi is undergraduate junior majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She joined Dr. Murakami’s lab in fall 2017. She is assisting with research on the RNA polymerase. Outside the lab, she enjoys traveling, swimming, and listening to music.
Biotechnology Undergraduate Student
Asvini Krishnaprakash is an Undergraduate Freshman majoring in Biotechnology at Penn Sate University. She joined Dr. Murakami’s Lab in Spring 2018 and is working with graduate student Catherine Sutherland on rifampicin resistant M. tuberculosis RNA polymerase and its mutations. Asvini also takes great interest in dancing, listening to music and traveling.