Discoveries - ubiquitin signaling
Dr. Cynthia Wolberger holds the Brown Advisory Colleagues Professorship in Scientific Innovation. She is Director and Professor of the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on structural biology, ubiquitin signaling and regulation of transcription.
Dr. Wolberger received her undergraduate degree in physics from Cornell University and earned her Ph.D. in biophysics at Harvard University. She completed postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Wolberger joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1991.
Dr. Wolberger studies how DNA packaging proteins—which coil DNA into neat, compact bundles in the cell—turn genes on or off, or initiate broken DNA repair. These DNA packaging proteins, aka histones, are called to action by the addition of chemical tags, like ubiquitin protein or acetyl chemical groups. To determine the structure of the histones and which chemical tags they use, Dr. Wolberger employs x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, techniques that allows researchers to develop three-dimensional models of proteins.
Dr. Wolberger is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Biophysical Society. She has been recognized with the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award by The Protein Society for her work in determining the structure of proteins involved in transcriptional regulation.