Aparna Unnikrishnan, PhD
Aparna Unnikrishnan received her PhD in Biophysics from the Ohio State University in Summer 2020 under the guidance of Dr. Mark Foster. Dr. Unnikrishnan’s graduate research involved the use of NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical techniques to study protein and nucleic acids structure and dynamics. She characterized an auto-inhibitory state in the Cre Recombinase enzyme and revealed a cis- to trans- conformational switch that regulates the assembly of the recombinogenic Cre-loxP complex.
Dr. Unnikrishnan joined the Southworth lab as a postdoctoral scholar in November 2020. She will use cryo-EM to determine high-resolution structures of the regulatory protein complexes between molecular chaperone Hsp70, its cochaperones, and tau protein in the conformations associated with various neurodegenerative diseases. She aims to characterize the cellular mechanism of protein ubiquitination and clearance and help in the identification of novel therapeutic targets.