Joseph E. Wedekind, Ph.D.

Joseph E. Wedekind, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 712
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 273-4516
Fax: (585) 275-6007

Lab Information

The Wedekind lab uses biophysical and biochemical techniques to investigate: (i) mechanisms of action of ncRNAs, and (ii) host protein interactions with viral factors, such as APOBEC3G and Vif.

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Research Bio

The Wedekind lab investigates the mechanisms of action of non-protein-coding (nc)RNAs. Our goal is to understand the principles by which these molecules gain biological function, which is widely applicable to human disease, as well as the identification of new antimicrobial targets. Model systems include small ribozymes derived from plant viroids, and metabolite sensing riboswitches from bacteria that regulate gene expression. This work is funded by NIH/NIGMS grant R01 GM063162.

We also study the DNA editing enzyme APOBEC3G (A3G), which is an innate anti-HIV-1 factor expressed in CD4+ T cells. Our goal is to elucidate structures of A3G in complex with HIV-1 proteins. Our long-term goal is to develop therapeutics that make A3G more potent in its ability to block viral infectivity. This work is funded by NIH/NIAID grant R33 AI076085.

Our lab primarily employs X-ray crystallography. We greatly acknowledge NIH/NCRR award S10 RR026501 for supporting this instrumentation. For access or further information see:

Awards & Honors (National)

Editorial Board Member, The Journal of Biological Chemistry | ASBMB 2011 - Present
Executive Committee Member, CHESS Users' Group | Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, Ithaca NY 2010 - 2012
Elected Secretary (The Board of Directors) | The Pittsburgh Diffraction Society | Pittsburgh, PA 2007 - 2009
Life Sciences Research Foundation Fellow | Burroughs Wellcome Fund | Dept. Structural Biology, Stanford, CA 1996 - 1999
Individual NRSA Post-doctoral Fellowship (declined) | NIH | Stanford, CA 1996
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Post-Doctoral Award (declined) | Leukemia and Lymphoma Society | Stanford, CA 1996
NIH Biophysics Training Grant Recipient | NIH/NIGMS 1992 - 1995

Awards & Honors (Local)

Faculty Teaching Award in Biophysics | University of Rochester SMD | Dept. Biochemistry & Biophysics 2015
Faculty Teaching Award in Biophysics | University of Rochester SMD | Dept. Biochemistry & Biophysics 2010
Faculty Teaching Award in Biophysics | University of Rochester SMD | Dept. Biochemistry & Biophysics 2005
Dean's Fellow | Stanford University School of Medicine 1995 - 1996
Elected Member, Phi Beta Kappa | Iota Chapter of California 1990
Edmondson Summer Research Fellow | Dept. of Pathology | University of Southern California 1989


RNA-Targeted Small Molecules as Potential Inhibitors of Ribosomal Frameshifting

United States Serial NO.: 12/670,772
Filed Date: July 28, 2008
Title: Nucleic Acid Binding Compounds and Methods of Use
Invented by: Benjamin Miller, Brian McNaughton, Peter Gareiss, Joseph Wedekind

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 64 available »

Jenkins JL, Wedekind JE. "The Quick and the Dead: A Guide to Fast Phasing of Small Ribozyme and Riboswitch Crystal Structures." Methods in molecular biology. 2016 1490:265-80.
2015 Nov 6
Dutta D, Wedekind JE. "Gene Regulation Gets in Tune: How Riboswitch Tertiary-Structure Networks Adapt to Meet the Needs of Their Transcription Units." Journal of molecular biology. 2015 Nov 6; 427(22):3469-72. Epub 2015 Aug 06.
2015 Nov
Aytenfisu AH, Liberman JA, Wedekind JE, Mathews DH. "Molecular mechanism for preQ1-II riboswitch function revealed by molecular dynamics." RNA. 2015 Nov; 21(11):1898-907. Epub 2015 Sep 14.
2015 Jul 7
Liberman JA, Suddala KC, Aytenfisu A, Chan D, Belashov IA, Salim M, Mathews DH, Spitale RC, Walter NG, Wedekind JE. "Structural analysis of a class III preQ1 riboswitch reveals an aptamer distant from a ribosome-binding site regulated by fast dynamics." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015 Jul 7; 112(27):E3485-94. Epub 2015 Jun 23.
2014 Jun 4
Heldenbrand H, Janowski PA, Giamba?u G, Giese TJ, Wedekind JE, York DM. "Evidence for the role of active site residues in the hairpin ribozyme from molecular simulations along the reaction path." Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2014 Jun 4; 136(22):7789-92. Epub 2014 May 23.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics (SMD) - Primary


Ph.D. | Biochemistry (Structural Enzymology) | University of Wisconsin at Madison1995
B.Sc. | Biochemistry (Magna Cum Laude) | University of California at Riverside1990

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

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