Farshad Abdollah-Nia, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

I am interested in understanding how bacterial cells manage the production of proteins, as well as the flux of metabolites in different growth conditions. I use mass spectrometry to quantify protein levels on a cell-wide scale in E. coli. Then I apply mathematical models that describe the dynamics of large groups of proteins. These models help us understand global resource allocation strategies in cells and enable us to predict the growth and the makeup of the cells in various environments


Anna Popova, Ph.D., Staff Scientist

I am particularly fond of rRNA modifications! All different kinds, found in bacteria, yeast, and human cells. Using modern mass spectrometry tools, I can identify and quantify relative abundance of RNA modifications in mature ribosomes and the intermediates. This quantitative approach proved to be effective in understanding modifications as part of the ribosome biogenesis process.


Julia Polay, Lab Administrative Coordinator

While my own background stems from an education and career outside of the sciences, I have spent the better part of the last decade surrounded by chemists. My previous experiences have demanded acute organization, clear communication, and an eye for detail. Nothing gives me more fulfillment than supporting a team of great minds and helping them achieve results


Kai Sheng, B.S., Graduate Student

I was trained as a chemical biologist during my undergraduate research, developing methodology in protein modifications and its applications in therapeutics. I also had one year working with Floyd Romesberg, exploring the exciting semi-synthetic organism. Now I turned my research interest to ribosomes, one of the most beautiful, sophisticated and meanwhile complex systems in biology. I am now using the in vitro ribosome assembly assay to screen inhibitors which are specific for the assembling process.


Joan Lee, B.S., Research Assistant

I earned a B.S. in Biochemistry/Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, and graduated with the highest departmental honors. During my undergraduate research, I studied the binding affinity between NFκB and transcription coactivators, such as ribosomal protein S3, and their binding affinity with various DNA. I am currently studying ribosomal intermediates E.coli cryo-electron tomography in the Williamson and Grotjahn


Xiyu Dong, B.S., Graduate Student

My interest is in bacterial ribosome biogenesis. Ribosome assembly is a complicated but rapid process in vivo. in vitro ribosome reconstruction system can slow this process and provide insights into the mechanism of ribosome assembly. I’m now working on the visualization of incomplete ribosome particles with cryo-EM. Besides, I’m also interested in identifying RNA modifications in bacteria by quantitative mass spectrometry


Qing “Sunny” Zhao, M.S., Rotation Student

I obtained my Master of Science Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California, where I have focused on the research field of epigenetics. I am now fascinated by the studies related to the role of RNA modifications in regulating gene expression and other critical cellular processes. Currently, as a graduate student in Dr. Williamson’s laboratory, I am working on a project that aims to investigate the interactome of several RNA methyltransferases modifying E. coli ribosome 50S subunit during the ribosome assembly process.


Lincoln Scott, Ph.D., Visiting Investigator

I am interested in the chemo-enzymatic synthesis of isotopically labeled nucleotides and nucleotide analogs. These compounds are used in a variety of NMR and mass spectrometry based biophysical studies of RNA and RNA-protein complexes. This work has led to the formation of Cassia LLC, a company that prepares isotopically labeled primary metabolites for the biophysical research community

Poppy Chen, Research Intern

I’m currently an undergraduate student at UCSD, majoring in Biochemistry/Chemistry. I conducted my previous undergraduate research on protein-drug conjugate that can target ovarian cancer cells. Currently, I turned my research interest to structural biology. As an intern in this lab, I’m working on projects to probe E. coli ribosome assembly


Ayushi Datey, Postdoctoral Associate

While I was trained in Structural Biology during my Ph.D., using Cryo-EM to understand eukaryotic translation initiation, currently I have shifted gear towards Cell biology. I am interested in studying inflammasome formation in the brain resident immune cells using MINFLUX nanoscopy along with suing proteomics to decipher the changes in the protein levels that occur during the process of inflammasome activation.