About “Katsuhiko Murakami”


Katsuhiko Murakami started his research career as a graduate student in the National Institute of Genetics and the Graduate University of Advanced Studies in Japan, received Ph. D. in 1997. He engaged in postdoctoral study at the Rockefeller University (1998-2003) for determining the X-ray crystal structure of bacterial RNA polymerase. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Pennsylvania State University in 2003 and became a full Professor in 2015.

Research Summary

Gene expression is fundamental to all organisms and studying how the genetic code is expressed in molecular terms is critical to cell development and understanding diseases. Our research interests are centered on understanding the mechanism of gene expression, particularly how information stored in genomic DNA is transcribed into RNA by the enzyme RNA polymerase – the first step and the key control point in the gene expression and one of the most fundamental processes required for life. We apply X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy techniques to reveal three-dimensional structures of bacterial, archaeal and bacteriophage RNA polymerases for elucidating the mechanisms of RNA transcription and its regulation.


Honors and Awards

1997 – 1998 Research Fellow of the Center of Excellence, Japan
1998 – 2000 Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow
2000 – 2001 Norman and Rosita Winston Postdoctoral Fellow
2005 – 2009 Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences





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