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Joseph E. Wedekind, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 273-4516

Fax: (585) 275-6007

Research Labs

The Wedekind lab uses biophysical, biochemical and cell-based techniques to investigate: (i) bacterial riboswitches, and (ii) lab-evolved proteins that target HIV-1 RNA.

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Faculty Appointments



The Wedekind lab investigates the mechanisms of action of non-protein-coding (nc)RNAs. We are interested especially in the elegant, three-dimensional architectures of these RNAs, and how they bind to specific small molecules or peptides, leading to conformations that alter biological function. Model systems include: (i) metabolite-sensing riboswitches that regulate protein translation, and (ii) the application of lab-evolved proteins to target HIV-1 RNA. This work is relevant to the development of new antibiotics and anti-retroviral therapies. This work is funded by NIH/NIGMS grants R01 GM063162 and R01 GM123864.

Our lab employs a variety of biochemical, biophysical, and structural approaches, such as X-ray crystallography. We greatly acknowledge NIH/NCRR award S10 RR026501 for supporting this instrumentation. For access or further information see:



B.Sc. | University of California at Riverside
Biochemistry (Magna Cum Laude)

Ph.D. | University of Wisconsin at Madison
Biochemistry (Structural Enzymology)

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

1995 - 1999
RNA Biophysics, Dept. of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine. 1995-1999


2018 - 2022
Member, MSFB Study Section
Sponsor: Center for Scientific Review, NIH/PHS

2017 - 2019
Secretary, Medical Faculty Council
Location: University of Rochester SMD

Faculty Teaching Award in Biophysics
Sponsor: University of Rochester SMD
Location: Dept. Biochemistry & Biophysics

2011 - 2016
Editorial Board Member, The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Sponsor: ASBMB

2010 - 2012
Executive Committee Member, CHESS Users' Group
Sponsor: Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, Ithaca NY

Faculty Teaching Award in Biophysics
Location: University of Rochester SMD | Dept. Biochemistry & Biophysics

2007 - 2009
Elected Secretary (The Board of Directors)
Sponsor: The Pittsburgh Diffraction Society
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Faculty Teaching Award in Biophysics
Location: University of Rochester SMD | Dept. Biochemistry & Biophysics

1996 - 1999
Life Sciences Research Foundation Fellow
Sponsor: Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Location: Dept. Structural Biology, Stanford, CA

Individual NRSA Post-doctoral Fellowship (declined)
Sponsor: NIH
Location: Stanford, CA

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Post-Doctoral Award (declined)
Sponsor: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Location: Stanford, CA

1995 - 1996
Dean's Fellow
Location: Stanford University School of Medicine

1992 - 1995
NIH Biophysics Training Grant Recipient
Sponsor: NIH/NIGMS

Elected Member, Phi Beta Kappa
Location: Iota Chapter of California

Edmondson Summer Research Fellow
Sponsor: Dept. of Pathology
Location: University of Southern California

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Title: Anti-HIV Peptides
U.S. Serial #: 15/805,933
Filed: Nov 07, 2017
Invented By: IvanBelashov, DavidCrawford, BrianMcNaughton, JosephWedekind


Journal Articles

Belashov IA, Crawford DW, Cavender CE, Dai P, Beardslee PC, Mathews DH, Pentelute BL, McNaughton BR, Wedekind JE. "Structure of HIV TAR in complex with a Lab-Evolved RRM provides insight into duplex RNA recognition and synthesis of a constrained peptide that impairs transcription." Nucleic acids research.. 2018 Jun 29; Epub 2018 Jun 29.

Dutta D, Belashov IA, Wedekind JE. "Coupling Green Fluorescent Protein Expression with Chemical Modification to Probe Functionally Relevant Riboswitch Conformations in Live Bacteria." Biochemistry.. 2018 Jun 26; Epub 2018 Jun 26.

Wedekind JE, Dutta D, Belashov IA, Jenkins JL. "Metalloriboswitches: RNA-based inorganic ion sensors that regulate genes." The Journal of biological chemistry.. 2017 Jun 9; 292(23):9441-9450. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Tails of Three Knotty Switches: How PreQ1 Riboswitch Structures Control Protein Translation
Book Title: eLifeSciences
Author List: Belashov I.A., Dutta D., Salim M., Wedekind J.E.
Published By: John Wiley & Sons, Inc2015

Chapter Title: Metal Dependence of Ligand Binding and Heavy-Atom Derivatization of Evolutionarily Distinct PreQ1 Riboswitches
Book Title: Chemical Biology of Nucleic Acids
Author List: Joseph E. Wedekind, Joseph A. Liberman, Jermaine L. Jenkins, Mohammad Salim
Published By: Springer2014

Chapter Title: Structural aspects of metal ion binding in small natural and artificial RNA enzymes
Book Title: Metal Ions in Life Sciences: Structural and Catalytic Roles of Metals in RNA
Author List: J.E. Wedekind
Edited By: A. Sigel, S. Sigel, R. Sigel
Published By: Wiley-Blackwell2010