Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Prof Daniela Rhodes

Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Prof Daniela Rhodes

Daniela Rhodes has spent all of her scientific career at the world-renowned MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. After obtaining her PhD in 1982 under the guidance of Nobel Prize winner, Aaron Klug, she was appointed Group Leader in 1983, obtained tenure in 1987 and was promoted to Senior Scientist in 1994 (equivalent to Full Professor). Between 2003 and 2006 she served as Director of Studies. She has also been Visiting Professor at both “La Sapienza” in Rome, Italy and the Rockefeller University in NY, USA. She joined the School of Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University as professor in September 2011.

Her professional experience includes evaluating research grants and fellowships for national and international funding bodies including the UK Royal Society UK, the US National institute of Health, the European Research Council, the Human Frontiers of Science Programme and the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). She chairs EMBO Council since 2009.

Her achievements have been recognized by being elected:
Official Fellow Clare Hall, Cambridge, UK (1992)
EMBO Member (1996)
Fellow of the Royal Society, UK (2007)
Member of the Academia Europaea (2011)
Research Interests
Daniela Rhodes is internationally recognized for her contributions to the area of chromosome biology. She has provided fundamental insights into the packaging of DNA in chromosomes, the structure of telomeres and how specific proteins such as transcription factors recognize DNA sequences to regulate transcription. She has been responsible for the determination of a number of important structures of proteins and protein-DNA complexes involved in transcriptional regulation such as zinc-fingers, nuclear hormone receptors and in telomere function. She has also made key contributions to the understanding of the structure, function and regulation of chromatin compaction and remodelling including the role of histone modification (epigenetics). Her work is epitomised by the combination of innovative biochemical analyses with direct structural determination using structural methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy.

Presently, the research of the Rhodes' group continues to focuses on the structure and function of chromatin and telomeres. In the area of chromatin, research will focus on the determination of the 3D structure of the “30nm” chromatin fibre using cryo-EM methods and how structural proteins such as the linker histone regulate its compaction, and histone marks. This work should provide essential insights into all biological processes whose substrate s DNA. In the area of telomere biology the 3D structure of human telomerase will analysed using a combination of cryo-EM methods and X-ray crystallography as well as investigating telomerase recruitment to telomeres. Such knowledge is needed to progress in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer propagation and human ageing.

Selected Publications:

A method for genetically encoding site-specific acetylation in histones: The effect of H3K56 acetylation on the nucleoome core structure.
Neuman, H., Hancok, S., Bening, R., Routh, A., Chapman L., Somers, J., Owen-Hughes, T., van Noort, J., Rhodes, D. and Chin, J. W
(2009) Mol., Cell, 36:153-63.

30 nm chromatin fibre decompaction requires both H4-K16 acetylation and linker histone eviction
Robinson, P.J., An, W., Routh, A., Martino, F., Chapman, L., Roeder, R.G. and Rhodes, D.
(2008) J. Mol. Biol. 381: 816-25.

Nucleosome repeat length and linker histone stoichiometry determine chromatin fiber structure
Routh, A., Sandin , S. and Rhodes, D.
(2008) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 105: 8872-7.

Telomerase recruitment by the telomere end binding protein-beta facilitates G- quadruplex DNA unfolding in ciliates
Paeschke, K., Juranek, S., Simonsson, T., Hempel, A., Rhodes, D. and Lipps, H.J. (joint corresponding author)
(2008) Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 15: 598-604.
Current Projects
  • Chromatin and telomerase structure
  • Human voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.3: Atomic structure to therapeutics
  • LKCMedicine Internal Grant 7
  • Nanyang Research Award 2016
  • Telomere Dynamics and Genome Function: From DNA to Nucleosomes to Chromosomes
Selected Publications
  • Zheng S, Kusnadi A, Choi JE, Vuong BQ, Rhodes D, Chaudhuri J. (2019). NME proteins regulate class switch recombination. FEBS Letters, 593(1), 80-87.
  • Gabriela Davey, Zenita Adhireksan, Zhujun Ma, Tina Riedel, Deepti Sharma, Sivaraman Padavattan, Daniela Rhodes, Alexander Ludwig, Sara Sandin, Benjamin Murray, Paul Dyson, and Curtis Davey. (2017). Nucleosome Acidic Patch-Targeting Binuclear Ruthenium Compounds Induce Aberrant Chromatin Condensation. Nature Communications, 8(1), 1575.

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