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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 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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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:


Faculty Appointments


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

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


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

2011 - Present
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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Journal Articles

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.

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.

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):3469-3472. Epub 2015 Aug 06.

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