May 17, 2022

Rachel Niederer, Ph.D., will join the faculty of the Biological Chemistry Department

Dr. Rachel Niederer has accepted an offer to become a faculty member in Biological Chemistry and the Center for RNA Biomedicine, with an anticipated November start date. Rachel earned undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Cell Biology/Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she worked with Dr. Jon Dinman to study the effect of RNA modifications on translational fidelity. She went on to obtain her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins under the mentorship of Dr. David Zappulla, where she defined shared structural and functional features in telomerase RNA and explored the transcriptional response to telomere loss and senescence. Rachel carried out postdoctoral studies first with Dr. Melissa Moore at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and then (when Dr. Moore moved to Moderna) with Dr. Wendy Gilbert at Yale, studying mechanisms of translational control. Rachel developed a novel method to rapidly and quantitatively measure ribosome recruitment to thousands of 5’-UTR sequences to define features controlling translation initiation. This approach, termed Direct Analysis of Ribosome Targeting (DART), has uncovered hundreds of new, functional RNA elements in yeast that differ in their ability to recruit ribosomes and to act as sequence-specific translational repressors (Niederer et al., Cell Systems 2022).

Dr. Niederer’s laboratory will explore mechanisms of translational control. She will bring a new set of cutting-edge approaches for studying translation initiation to the Department of Biological Chemistry, the Center for RNA Biomedicine, and the broader UM community. Rachel’s laboratory will be located on the fourth floor of MSRB II.

Welcome to Rachel, her husband Andrew, and their son Connor!