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Kalina Hristova, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Kalina Hristova, Ph.D.
  • Joint Appointment in Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests

Biomaterials; Structure, assembly, function and physics of biological membranes; Biomembranes; Cell signaling; Membrane cell biology; Structure of membrane proteins; Peptide–bilayer interactions; Structure of membranes and lipid bilayers; Membrane permeabilization; Interfacial films; Antimicrobial peptides; Surface engineering; Biomimetics; Biosurface interactions more


Dr. Kalina Hristova holds a joint appointment in biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is a professor and the Marlin U. Zimmerman Jr. Faculty Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering.

Dr. Hristova received her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Sofia in Bulgaria. She earned her Ph.D. at Duke University.

She joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2001. more


  • Joint Appointment in Biomedical Engineering

Departments / Divisions

Research & Publications


Researchers in the Hristova Lab use diverse biophysical and cell biological methods such as s-ray and neutron diffraction, fluorescence, Western blotting, circular dichroism, equilibrium dialysis and molecular modeling to address questions such as:

  • What structural and thermodynamic laws govern membrane protein folding and pathogenic misfolding?
  • How do mutations in the transmembrane segments of catalytic receptors induce pathological phenotypes such as cancers and growth disorders?
  • Can we, through structural and kinetic studies of membrane proteins, arrive at a “recipe” for the rational design of drugs that inhibit persistent membrane protein activation?
  • How does the lipid bilayer mediate protein-protein interactions?

Selected Publications

King C, Stoneman M, Raicu V, Hristova K. "Fully quantified spectral imaging reveals in vivo membrane protein interactions." Integr Biol (Camb). 2016 Feb 15;8(2):216-29. doi: 10.1039/c5ib00202h. Epub 2016 Jan 20.

Singh DR, Cao Q, King C, Salotto M, Ahmed F, Zhou XY, Pasquale EB, Hristova K. "Unliganded EphA3 dimerization promoted by the SAM domain." Biochem J. 2015 Oct 1;471(1):101-9. doi: 10.1042/BJ20150433. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Sarabipour S, Del Piccolo N, Hristova K. "Characterization of membrane protein interactions in plasma membrane derived vesicles with quantitative imaging Förster resonance energy transfer." Acc Chem Res. 2015 Aug 18;48(8):2262-9. doi: 10.1021/acs.accounts.5b00238. Epub 2015 Aug 5.

Singh DR, Ahmed F, King C, Gupta N, Salotto M, Pasquale EB, Hristova K. "EphA2 receptor unliganded dimers suppress epha2 pro-tumorigenic signaling." J Biol Chem. 2015 Nov 6;290(45):27271-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.676866. Epub 2015 Sep 11.

King C, Sarabipour S, Byrne P, Leahy DJ, Hristova K. "The FRET signatures of noninteracting proteins in membranes: simulations and experiments." Biophys J. 2014 Mar 18;106(6):1309-17. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.01.039.

Sarabipour S, King C, Hristova K. "Uninduced high-yield bacterial expression of fluorescent proteins." Anal Biochem. 2014 Mar 15;449:155-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2013.12.027. Epub 2013 Dec 28.

Kavran JM, McCabe JM, Byrne PO, Connacher MK, Wang Z, Ramek A, Sarabipour S, Shan Y, Shaw DE, Hristova K, Cole PA, Leahy DJ. "How IGF-1 activates its receptor." Elife. 2014 Sep 25;3. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03772.

Chen L, Novicky L, Merzlyakov M, Hristov T, Hristova K. "Measuring the energetics of membrane protein dimerization in mammalian membranes." J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Mar 17;132(10):3628-35. doi: 10.1021/ja910692u.

Li E, Merzlyakov M, Lin J, Searson P, Hristova K. "Utility of surface-supported bilayers in studies of transmembrane helix dimerization." J Struct Biol. 2009 Oct;168(1):53-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2009.03.005. Epub 2009 Mar 20. Review.

Merzlyakov M, Li E, Hristova K. "Directed assembly of surface-supported bilayers with transmembrane helices." Langmuir. 2006 Jan 31;22(3):1247-53.

Activities & Honors


  • Elected to Council, The Biophysical Society, 2014
  • Marlin U. Zimmerman Faculty Scholar, Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, 2011
  • The Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award, Biophysical Society, 2007
  • Career Development Award, University of California, Irvine, 2000
  • Gold Badge of Scientific Merit, Gold Badge of Scientific Merit, 1998

Professional Activities

  • Chair, 2012 FASEB Research Conference, Molecular Biophysics of Cellular Membranes
  • Chair, 2012 Membrane Structure and Assembly

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinases: Insight Into Dimerization, Structure, and Function
    Lecture, Workshop on Tethered Membranes, Singapore (01/01/2015)
  • Membrane Active Peptides and Proteins
    Lecture, Shanghai (01/01/2015)
  • Chemistry Seminar Series
    Lecture (01/01/2015)
  • Optical Micro-spectroscopy and Molecular Imaging
    Lecture (01/01/2015)
  • Biological Membranes and Membrane Proteins: Challenges for Theory and Experiments
    Lecture, Telluride, CO (01/01/2015)
  • Canadian Chemical Society Annual Meeting
    Lecture, Ottawa (01/01/2015)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar
    Lecture (01/01/2014)
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry Seminar Series
    Lecture (01/01/2014)
  • Advances in Lipid-Protein Interactions: Understanding its Importance and Modulation in Cell Physiology (International Theoretical Course)
    Lecture, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico (01/01/2014)
  • Molecular Biophysics of Membranes
    Lecture, FASEB Science Research Conference, Big Sky, MT (01/01/2014)
  • Third International Conference on Analytical and Nanoanalytical Methods for Biomedical and Environmental Sciences
    Lecture, Brasov, Romania (01/01/2014)
  • Advanced Methods and Applications in Quantitative Fluorescence
    Lecture (01/01/2013)
  • Physics/Biology Seminar Series
    Lecture, Philadelphia, PA (01/01/2013)
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry Seminar Series
    Lecture, Wilmington, NC (01/01/2013)
  • Membrane Protein Folding and Functioning
    Lecture, Telluride, CO (01/01/2013)
  • Biological Membranes and Membrane Proteins: Challenges for Theory and Experiment
    Lecture, Snowmass Village, CO (01/01/2013)
  • Theoretical Molecular Biophysics Seminar Series
    Lecture, Berlin, Germany (01/01/2013)
  • Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research Seminar Series
    Lecture, Rockville, MD (01/01/2013)
  • Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics and Molecular Signaling Series
    Lecture, Rockville, MD (01/01/2013)
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