Marko Jovanovic, PhD

Principal Investigator

As an undergrad, I studied molecular biology at the University of Vienna, Austria, where I also did my Master thesis on protein folding. I joined the lab of Prof. Michael Hengartner at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, for my PhD studies. In close collaboration with the Aebersold lab at the ETH Zurich, we developed novel large scale approaches to identify microRNA targets genes in C. elegans. These years sparked my interest in gene expression regulation. After my PhD, I joined the group of Prof. Aviv Regev at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, USA. We developed new methods to integrate transcriptomics and proteomics data in order to gain new insight about how protein level changes are regulated during the immune response of dendritic cells and also established the first genome wide marker based CRISPR screen in primary cells. As I was a Marie Curie Fellow during my postdoc, I had the opportunity to join the lab of Prof. Erin Schuman at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, to gain insight about translational control of gene expression in the nervous system for an additional year before starting my own research group at Columbia University in 2017. My overarching research goal is to understand the principles and mechanisms by which translational regulation controls the dynamics of gene expression and therefore affects processes like differentiation, stress response and pathogenesis.

Abdurrahman Keskin

PhD Student

I graduated from METU Molecular Biology and Genetics department in Turkey (2013). After earning my master’s degree from Koc University in the same department (2016), I started to Biological Sciences PhD program at Columbia. I joined the Jovanovic Lab in 2017. My project focuses on regulation of protein production dynamics by RNA binding proteins (RBPs).

Erica Wolin

PhD Student

I graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in neuroscience, where my undergraduate research focused on the consequences of age on the permeability of the blood brain barrier. After graduation, I went on to study somatic stem cell biology for two years as a research assistant at Harvard University. I joined the Jovanovic lab in July 2018 where I plan to study how cells use translational regulation to fine-tune gene expression, in order to maintain cellular identity or properly progress through differentiation programs.

Alison Ross

PhD Student

Alison is a PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences. She graduated with a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona (UA) in 2017. Before coming to Columbia, she worked in a drug discovery and development lab at the UA College of Pharmacy, screening natural product extracts and small molecules for inhibitors of therapeutic drug targets. She joined the Jovanovic lab in the summer of 2018. She is interested in understanding the cross-talk between transcriptional and translational gene regulation programs, and is currently developing a technology to monitor the dynamic behavior of protein networks.

Jenny Kim Kim

Lab Manager

Jenny graduated from Stonybrook University with a Bachelor's in Pharmacology. She joined the Proteomics Shared Resource Lab at CUMC as a lab technician in 2014 where her duties were to conduct experiments, develop and optimize protocols, and assist the lab manager. In her time at CUMC, she was also exposed to instruments such as MALDI. Jenny is now a lab manager at Columbia University and developing her skills with mass spectrometry and data analysis while assisting students and supervising operations within the lab.

Ella Doron-Mandel, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

I joined the Jovanovic lab on January 2019 as a postdoc under a joint mentorship by Marko and by Robert Singer. In my research, I aspire to advance our understanding of the architecture and organization principles of neuronal RNP granules in order to gain mechanistic insight on RNA localization and local translation regulation in neurons. By integrating omics and imaging approaches, I aim to achieve a detailed systematic description of the RNA and protein composition of neuronal RNP granules and their dynamics, in order to contribute towards a much-needed unified understanding of these moieties. I completed my MSc and PhD studies in the lab of Mike Fainzilber in the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. I worked on axon to soma communication in DRGs in the context of injury-signaling and cell-size sensing. I uncovered the axonal localization mechanism of the RNA binding protein (RBP) Nucleolin, assigning a novel localization function to a domain commonly found in neuronal RBPs and took part in discovering the molecular players of a motor-based mechanism for cell-size sensing.

Lauren Tang

PhD Student

Originally from northern New Jersey, I attended Northeastern University for my undergraduate studies, majoring in Biochemistry. During my time at Northeastern, I worked as a co-op student for the Analytical Chemistry team within the Oncology Chemistry group at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. There, I got my first experience with mass-spectrometry. Since graduating from Northeastern in 2015, I have worked at the Broad Institute as a member of the Proteomics Platform. During my time there, I worked on multiple proteogenomic projects with an aim to characterize diseases, such as breast cancer and lung adenocarcinoma, using mass-spectrometry based proteomics. Looking beyond global proteome profiles, I have also taken interest into studying various post-translational modifications in the context of such diseases. Additionally, I have focused on developing methods to optimize the accuracy and reproducibility of mass-spectrometry based proteomics. Despite a seemingly unhealthy love for all things mass spec related, I also have interests outside of the sciences including rock climbing, traveling, eating donuts, and eating ice cream. (I have yet to try ice cream sandwiches made with donuts, but that is on the to-do list.)

Lena Street

PhD Student

I graduated with a B.A. from Columbia University in 2014 where I worked in the Hunt lab on technologies to improve protein crystallization methods. I continued my studies at NYU where I earned a M.S. in biology in the Ercan lab, studying the mechanism of X chromosome dosage compensation in C. elegans. I joined the Jovanovic lab in May 2019 as a PhD student. I am interested in studying how UTR regions influence translational regulation in relation to temporal and spatial processes.

Sohani Das Sharma, PhD

Staff Scientist

Dimitri Cadet

Research Technician

I graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Biochemistry in December 2020. From September 2018 to December 2019, I worked with Martin Chalfie on large scale genetics and drug responses in C. elegans. I was awarded a Genentech Fellowship for undergraduate research during my time in the Chalfie Lab. In January 2020, I joined the Jovanovic Lab, where I worked with Alison Ross to develop and optimize a technology to monitor dynamic protein networks. I aim to continue working on this technology, as well as learn more about mass spectrometry-based proteomics in the contexts of cell differentiation and pathogenesis.

Columbia University

Department of Biological Sciences