New Faculty Profile: Julia Widom, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Institute of Molecular Biology
Julia Widom grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where a high school class kindled her interest in chemistry. She did her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University then earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry at UO in 2013. She performed her doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Marcus, where she used laser spectroscopy to study membranes and DNA. She then did her postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan in the laboratory of Dr. Nils Walter, using single-molecule microscopy to study RNA. She is very excited to be returning to Eugene to begin her independent research and teaching career. In her research at UO, Julia will continue to focus on RNA, which performs a plethora of different biological functions. Nearly all functions of RNA depend on its ability to fold into the correct structure on a sufficiently fast time-scale, and Julia will be combining ultrafast and single-molecule spectroscopy to study these folding processes. She will also use the ability of RNA to fold into diverse structures to build nanostructures whose properties are programmed by the sequence of the RNA. In her teaching, she seeks to bridge the gap between physical chemistry and biology.