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Rachel Green, Ph.D.

Headshot of Rachel Green
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Research Interests

In vitro selection approaches; Mechanism of translation; Ribosomal RNA (rRNA); Ribosomes more


Dr. Rachel D. Green is a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Green’s work has been supported by the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2000. Her laboratory focuses on examining the molecular mechanisms of translation and their implications for gene regulation. This includes the study of the diverse aspects of translation and its regulation in bacteria, yeast and higher eukaryotic systems – with a recent focus on defining the molecular mechanisms that specify the high fidelity of protein synthesis during translation.

Dr. Green joined the Johns Hopkins faculty as an assistant professor in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. in biological chemistry at Harvard University before completing a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also holds a B.S. with honors in chemistry from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Green has published scores of journal articles and garnered a number of awards and honors, including being named the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Teacher of the Year in 2005.

She serves on the board of directors of the RNA Society, as well as on the editorial boards of publications that include the Journal of Biology, Molecular Cell and RNA.

Dr. Green was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017. more


  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • Ph.D.; Harvard University (Massachusetts) (1992)

Additional Training

  • University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, 1998, Biology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Work in the Green Lab is centered on the ribosome, and can be roughly divided into four general project areas:

  •     The longest-standing research area concerns the interactions of eubacterial ribosomes and release factors. The goal of these projects is to understand the mechanism of action of release factors on the ribosome.
  •     A second research area involves biochemical and structure/function studies of the miRNA pathway, particularly the mechanism of action of the Argonaute proteins and their interacting factors.
  •     A third area of work in the lab is centered around regulation of eukaryotic translation, specifically in understanding the mechanism behind various mRNA quality control pathways, and the interactions of proteins therein as well as with the ribosome.
  •     The newest area of research in the lab extends our strengths in ribosome biochemistry to characterize the translation status of the cell using the ribosome profiling. We are using this technique to better understand the role of several factors involved in eukaryotic and prokaryotic translation fidelity.



The ribosome is the two-subunit macromolecular complex responsible for the translation of the genetic code into functional polypeptides.

The ribosome is composed of RNA (three large rRNAs in bacteria) and protein (more than 50 r-proteins in bacteria) in a mass ratio of about 2:1.

Investigators in the Green Lab are interested in understanding how this ribonucleoprotein machine catalyzes and coordinates the complex molecular events of translation.

These studies may reveal important details that impact on the function of other RNP machines such as the spliceosome and telomerase and may uncover clues that address the early origins of life and the potential of an “RNA world.”

As ribosomes are the target of many clinically relevant anti-microbial agents (erythromycin, chloramphenicol, and the aminoglycosides), the implications of these studies for drug development are significant.

Lab Website: Green Lab

Selected Publications

Brunelle JL, Green R. (2014) “Coomassie blue staining.” Methods Enzymol 541: 161-7.


Brunelle JL, Green R. (2014) “One-dimensional SDS-Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis (1D SDS-PAGE).” Methods Enzymol 541: 151-9

Koutmou KS, McDonald ME, Brunelle JL, Green R. (2014) “RF3:GTP promotes rapid dissociation of the class 1 termination factor.” RNA 20: 609-20

Guydosh NR, Green R. (2014) “Dom34 rescues ribosomes in 3' untranslated regions.” Cell 156: 950-62

Zaher HS, Green R. (2014) “In vitro synthesis of proteins in bacterial extracts.” Methods Enzymol 539: 3-15

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

Program in Molecular Biophysics

Activities & Honors


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Cancer Society (California Division), 1996
  • Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2000
  • Assistant Investigator Award, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2000
  • Teacher of the Year, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2005
  • Predoctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 1987
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellowship Award, 2000
  • Searle Scholarship Award, 1999
  • Award for Young Scientists, RPI/RNA , 1999
  • Burroughs Wellcome Career Award, 1996
  • Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1993
  • Member, National Academy of Medicine, 2017


  • Journal of Biology, 2008
    Editorial Board
  • Molecular Cell, 2007
    Editorial Board
  • RNA, 2007
    Editorial Board

Professional Activities

  • Board of Directors, RNA Society, 2010
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