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Natasha Elizabeth Zachara, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Natasha Elizabeth Zachara, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry

Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry

Research Interests: Regulation of cell survival/death signaling by intracellular glycosylation; regulation of metabolic pathways that impact glycosylation; autophagy; proteomics and glycomics. ...read more

Background

Dr. Natasha Zachara is an assistant professor of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the role of nucleocytoplasmic glycosylation, O-GlcNAc, in cell survival and the cellular stress response. She serves as the co-director of the Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry.

She received her undergraduate degree in biotechnology from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She earned her Ph.D. from Macquarie University. She completed postdoctoral studies in glycobiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Zachara joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2005.

Prior to joining the Department of Biological Chemistry, Dr. Zachara was an assistant professor in the Division of Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins Singapore.

She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Biochemists and Molecular Biologists, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Lorne Protein Structure and Function Young Scientist Award in 2006.

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Titles

  • Co-Director, Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry
  • Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry
  • Assistant Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

Education

Degrees

  • Ph.D., Macquarie University (Australia) (1999)

Additional Training

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 2005

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Zachara and her team are engaged in understanding which proteins are modified dynamically by O-GlcNAc in response to stress, and how this alters protein function in such a way that elevating O-GlcNAc before, or immediately after, cellular injury is protective in both in vitro and in vivo models.

In response to multiple forms of cellular stress, levels of the O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) protein modification are elevated rapidly and dynamically on myriad nuclear, mitocohdrial and cytoplasmic proteins. Several studies demonstrate that elevation of O-GlcNAc prior to heat stress, oxidative stress, hypoxia, trauma hemorrhage and ischemia reperfusion injury is protective, suggesting that increased O-GlcNAc in response to stress is a survival response of cells injury. However, the mechanisms by which O-GlcNAc regulates protein function leading to cell survival have not been defined.

Dr. Zachara's long-term goal is to determine how stress-induced changes in the O-GlcNAc protein modification lead to increased cell/tissue survival in response to injury, in order to develop novel strategies for the treatment of numerous diseases, including ischemia reperfusion injury.

Lab Website: Zachara Lab

Selected Publications

Zachara N. E., O'Donnell N., Mercer J. J., Marth J. D., and Hart G. W. (2004) Dynamic O-GlcNAc modification of nucleocytoplasmic proteins in response to stress. A survival response of mammalian cells. J. Biol. Chem., 279, 30133-30142.

Jones S. P., Zachara N. E., Teshima Y., Hart G. W., and Marban E. (2008) Endogenously-recruitable cardioprotection by N-acetylglucosamine linkage to cellular proteins. Circulation, 117, 1172-1182.

Kazemi Z., Chang H., Haserodt S. K., McKen C., Zachara N.E. (2010) O-GlcNAc Regulates Stress-Induced Heat Shock Protein Expression in a GSK-3 Dependent Manner. J. Biol. Chem., 285, 39096-39107.

Jensen R.V., Zachara N.E., Nielsen P.H., Kimose H.H., Kristiansen S.B., and Botker H.E. (2013) Impact of O-GlcNAc on cardioprotection by remote ischemic preconditioning in non-diabetic and diabetic patients. Cardiovascular Research, 97(2): 369-378.

Zhong J., Martinez M., Sengupta S., Lee A., Wu X., Chaerkady R., O'Meally R., Cole R. N., Pandey A., Zachara N. E. (2015) Quantitative Phosphoproteomics Reveals Crosstalk Between Phosphorylation and O-GlcNAc in the DNA Damage Response Pathway. Proteomics, 15(2-3): 591-607.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry

Introduction to Glycobiology

Fundamentals in Glycobiology

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • Most Cited Articles 2006 - 2010, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA), 2011
  • Top 3 Downloaded Papers of General Subjects in 2005, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA), 2006
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Travel Award, Experimental Biology, 2004
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Travel Award, Experimental Biology, 2001
  • Young Scientist Award, International Glycoconjugate Organization, 1997
  • HECS Scholarship, Macquarie University, 1994 - 1998
  • AMRAD Molecular Biology Award, Macquarie University, 1993
  • Travel Award, Society for Glycobiology, 2000
  • Lorne Protein Structure and Function Young Scientist Award, 2006
  • Albert Lehninger Young Scientist Award, 2005
  • Student Travel Award, Lorne Protein Society , 1995

Memberships

  • Cell Stress Society International, 2010
  • The American Society of Biochemists and Molecular Biologists, 2005
  • The Society for Glycobiology, 2005

Professional Activities

  • The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, 2013
  • 100th Anniversary Committee, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2008
    Department of Biological Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry, Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2009 - 2012
    Faculty Search Committee
  • Co-Chair, Protein O-GlcNAcylation: A New Signaling Paradigm for the Cardiovascular System, 2010
  • Editorial board, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2013
  • Faculty Senate (previously the Medical School Council), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2011
  • Glycobiology Theme Organizer, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2014
  • Hellerman Lecture Selection Committee, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2010
    Department of Biological Chemistry
  • Human Use Exemptions Committee, Division of Johns Hopkins Singapore, 2006 - 2007
  • Organizer, Glycobiology Interest Group, 2010
  • Organizer, Glycobiology Interest Group, 2012
    Annual Poster Session
  • Peer Reviewer, Wellcome Trust, 2008
  • Seminar Committee, Division of Johns Hopkins Singapore, 2006 - 2007
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