Additional lab spaces

Three additional floors of lab support space

Graduating seniors recognized for their excellence

Waksman advisees to be recognized during commencement.

Waksman Funded Projects

A list of currently funded research projects as reported by various funding sources.

Areas of Research

Maize, Drosophila, C. Elegans, Mice, Tobacco, Yeast, E.coli, Algae and more.


Methods and Tools to aid researchers.

Located on Busch Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Waksman Institute of Microbiology is an interdisciplinary research institute devoted to excellence in basic research. Focus areas include developmental biology, cell biology, biochemistry, structural biology, genetics, and genomics.

To support the educational mission of Rutgers, Waksman faculty members hold appointments in academic departments throughout the university. Our researchers train undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows, as well as engage high school students in research through an outreach program.

Latest News

“Once I entered Rutgers in 2013, I felt like I need to be involved in research because it was calling me,” he said.

Chris Wakim’s odyssey took him from Alexandria, Egypt, to Bergen Community College to Rutgers University-New Brunswick, where he will graduate next month with a double major in microbiology and the biotechnology concentration in bioinformatics.

By Deborah Walsh, Suburban Trends
Although some students might relish a respite from the most challenging of school work over the summer months, a couple of Kinnelon High School (KHS) students seized an opportunity to conduct high level scientific research at the Waksman Student Scholars Program (WSSP) Summer Institute at Rutgers University.

Madelaine Travaille, the school district's science supervisor, said a science research club was started at KHS in the 2015-16 school year.


Karl Maramorosch, 101, professor emeritus, Department of Entomology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, passed away of natural causes on May 9, 2016, during a visit to Poland.

Rutgers Today Media Contact: Todd B. Bates

Ten Rutgers professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor conferred on 381 other experts in the U.S. and abroad.

The fellows were chosen by their AAAS peers for efforts to advance science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished, according to the AAAS.

Andrea Gallavotti, Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at the Waksman Institute, is a Co-PI of a recently awarded five-year collaborative grant. The project, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and titled “Genomic and Synthetic Approaches Linking Auxin Signaling Modules to Functional Domains in Maize”, seeks to understand how auxin signaling regulates the formation of specific functional domains in maize inflorescences (

Discovered in bacteria as viral defense mechanism, researchers program C2c2 to manipulate cellular RNA using CRISPR

Recent Publications

Duchi, D, Mazumder A, Malinen AM, Ebright RH, Kapanidis AN.  2018.  The RNA polymerase clamp interconverts dynamically among three states and is stabilized in a partly closed state by ppGpp.. Nucleic acids research. 14:7284-7295. Abstract
RNA polymerase (RNAP) contains a mobile structural module, the 'clamp,' that forms one wall of the RNAP active-center cleft and that has been linked to crucial aspects of the transcription cycle, including promoter melting, transcription elongation complex stability, transcription pausing, and transcription termination. Using single-molecule FRET on surface-immobilized RNAP molecules, we show that the clamp in RNAP holoenzyme populates three distinct conformational states and interconvert between these states on the 0.1-1 s time-scale. Similar studies confirm that the RNAP clamp is closed in open complex (RPO) and in initial transcribing complexes (RPITC), including paused initial transcribing complexes, and show that, in these complexes, the clamp does not exhibit dynamic behaviour. We also show that, the stringent-response alarmone ppGpp, which reprograms transcription during amino acid starvation stress, selectively stabilizes the partly-closed-clamp state and prevents clamp opening; these results raise the possibility that ppGpp controls promoter opening by modulating clamp dynamics.
Gabizon, R, Lee A, Vahedian-Movahed H, Ebright RH, Bustamante CJ.  2018.  Pause sequences facilitate entry into long-lived paused states by reducing RNA polymerase transcription rates.. Nature communications. 9(1):2930. Abstract
Transcription by RNA polymerase (RNAP) is interspersed with sequence-dependent pausing. The processes through which paused states are accessed and stabilized occur at spatiotemporal scales beyond the resolution of previous methods, and are poorly understood. Here, we combine high-resolution optical trapping with improved data analysis methods to investigate the formation of paused states at enhanced temporal resolution. We find that pause sites reduce the forward transcription rate of nearly all RNAP molecules, rather than just affecting the subset of molecules that enter long-lived pauses. We propose that the reduced rates at pause sites allow time for the elongation complex to undergo conformational changes required to enter long-lived pauses. We also find that backtracking occurs stepwise, with states backtracked by at most one base pair forming quickly, and further backtracking occurring slowly. Finally, we find that nascent RNA structures act as modulators that either enhance or attenuate pausing, depending on the sequence context.
Zhang, Y, Dong J.  2018.  Cell polarity: compassing cell division and differentiation in plants.. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol.. 45:127-135.
Vvedenskaya, IO, Bird JG, Zhang Y, Zhang Y, Jiao X, Barvík I, Krásný L, Kiledjian M, Taylor DM, Ebright RH et al..  2018.  CapZyme-Seq Comprehensively Defines Promoter-Sequence Determinants for RNA 5' Capping with NAD.. Molecular cell. 70(3):553-564.e9. Abstract
Nucleoside-containing metabolites such as NAD can be incorporated as 5' caps on RNA by serving as non-canonical initiating nucleotides (NCINs) for transcription initiation by RNA polymerase (RNAP). Here, we report CapZyme-seq, a high-throughput-sequencing method that employs NCIN-decapping enzymes NudC and Rai1 to detect and quantify NCIN-capped RNA. By combining CapZyme-seq with multiplexed transcriptomics, we determine efficiencies of NAD capping by Escherichia coli RNAP for ∼16,000 promoter sequences. The results define preferred transcription start site (TSS) positions for NAD capping and define a consensus promoter sequence for NAD capping: HRRASWW (TSS underlined). By applying CapZyme-seq to E. coli total cellular RNA, we establish that sequence determinants for NCIN capping in vivo match the NAD-capping consensus defined in vitro, and we identify and quantify NCIN-capped small RNAs (sRNAs). Our findings define the promoter-sequence determinants for NCIN capping with NAD and provide a general method for analysis of NCIN capping in vitro and in vivo.