Magdalena Ivanova, Ph.D.

Michigan Neuroscience Institute Affiliate
Research Associate Professor of Neurology
Biophysics Program Affiliate

109 Zina Pitcher Pl. BSRB #4027
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109



Dr. Magdalena Ivanova's background is in protein aggregation and amyloid fibril formation's structural biology, biophysics, and biochemistry. She joined the University of Michigan Department of Neurology as an Assistant Research Professor in 2013 and is also a member of the Biophysics Program. She completed her Ph.D. in the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University, where she studied the structure of filamentous bacteriophages by x-ray fiber diffraction. Dr. Ivanova was a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. David Eisenberg at the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute and served as a research associate at UCLA before joining the University of Michigan. At UCLA, Dr. Ivanova contributed to the development of x-ray micro-diffraction, which revealed the first high-resolution structures of amyloid fibrils. The structures of amyloid fibrils brought insights into amyloid fibril formation and possible strategies to intervene in their formation.

Areas of Interest

The focus of the Ivanova lab is molecular studies of the liquid-liquid phase separation, misfolding, and toxicity of α-synuclein, UBQLN2, and C9orf72 dipeptides. These proteins abnormally accumulate in many neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD). To study the driving forces that precipitate these proteins in pathological aggregates, we develop and validate in vitro and cellular systems, examine chemical and physical drivers of protein misfolding, and study their structures and toxicity. The Ivanova Lab employs biophysical (electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction), biochemical (fluorescent-based assays), and cellular methods.

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Gerson JE, Linton H, Xing J, Sutter AB, Kakos FS, Ryou J, Liggans N, Sharkey LM, Safren N, Paulson HL, Ivanova MI. Shared and divergent phase separation and aggregation properties of brain-expressed ubiquilins. (2021) Sci Rep, 11, 1-13 PMID: 33431932 PMCID: PMC7801659 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-78775-4
  • Ivanova MI, Lin Y, Lee YH, Zheng J, Ramamoorthy A. Biophysical processes underlying cross-seeding in amyloid aggregation and implications in amyloid pathology. (2021) Biophys Chem, 269, 106507-106507 PMID: 33254009 DOI: 10.1016/j.bpc.2020.106507
  • Sharkey LM, Safren N, Pithadia AS, Gerson JE, Dulchavsky M, Fischer S, Patel R, Lantis G, Ashraf N, Kim JH, Meliki A, Minakawa EN, Barmada SJ, Ivanova MI, Paulson HL. Mutant UBQLN2 promotes toxicity by modulating intrinsic self-assembly. (2018) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 115, E10495-E10504. PMID: 30333186 PMCID: PMC6217421 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810522115
  • Flores BN, Dulchavsky ME, Krans A, Sawaya MR, Paulson HL, Todd PK, Barmada SJ, and Ivanova MI. Distinct C9orf72-associated dipeptide repeat structures correlate with neuronal toxicity. (2016) PloS One. 11, e0165084. PMID: 27776165, PMCID: PMC5077081, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165084

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