Sergej Djuranovic, PhD

Professor of Cell Biology & Physiology

Research Interests

Djuranovic Lab uses different biochemical, molecular biology and genetics techniques to investigate the process of gene expression regulation at the level of mRNA translation. The research is focused on sequence motifs in mRNA as well as on ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes and RNA binding proteins (RBPs) that control translational efficiency of their target mRNAs or play a general role in RNA metabolism. The overall goals are to define the sequence of cellular events that govern microRNA (miRNA)- or RBPs-mediated gene regulation using a rigorous kinetic and biochemical analysis of protein expression (translational efficiency) and targeted mRNA degradation. Similar methodologies are also used to follow other cellular processes that are governed by mRNA or protein sequence motifs that are thought to affect RNA metabolism. These include among the others ribosome stalling sequences that act during translation elongation, components of mRNA surveillance mechanisms and sequences that change translational efficiency governed by early translation elongation (translational ramp). The Djuranovic lab uses biochemistry and biophysics assays, high throughput methods and genome-wide analyses to understand the action of specific regulators of mRNA translation and decay in eukaryotic cells. Finally, we are interested in exploring particular sequence motifs, in both mRNAs and nascent polypeptide chains, that control output of protein synthesis in 2% of human genes and which are highly enriched in pathogenic species of Plasmodium falciparum parasites. Besides gaining more insight into scientific knowledge on the RNA metabolism and gene regulation pathways our lab has an interest on the development of experimental and biotechnological tools as well as potential therapeutics that are based on targeting of specific mRNAs or ribosomes.

Professional Education
  • BSc: University of Belgrade, 1999, Biochemistry
  • MSc: University of Belgrade, 2001, Biochemistry
  • PhD: Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, 2006, Biochemistry
  • Postdoc: Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, 2006-2007, Biochemistry
  • Postdoc: HHMI/Johns Hopkins University, 2007-2012, Biochemistry

Djuranovic Lab

McDonnell Sciences Building (MS: 8228-0012-05)

mRNA | MicroRNAs | Ribosomes | Translation | Gene expression | Neurodegeneration | Cancer

The Djuranovic Lab is primarily interested in understanding the mechanisms of post-transcriptional gene regulation. We focus on RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), ribonucleoprotein (RNP complexes) as well as mRNA sequence motifs, all of which control translational efficiency of their target mRNAs or are involved in general RNA metabolism.