Catherine Royer


Dr. Royer obtained her Bachelors (Licence) degree in 1979 at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie - Paris 6 in Biochemistry and Chemistry. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1985 in the Department of Biochemistry in the School of Chemical Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the direction of Professor Gregorio Weber. She carried out postdoctoral studies at the University of Paris 7, the CNRS at Gif-sur-Yvette and at LURE under the direction of Bernard Alpert, Guy Hervé and Jean-Claude Brochon. She then took a position as User Coordinator and Research Physicist at the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign. In 1990 she moved to an Assistant Professorship in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1995. In 1997 she took the position of INSERM Director of Research in the Center for Structural Biochemistry in Montpellier France where, in 2002, she became Associate Director of the institute and in 2007, Director. In 2013 She moved to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a Professor of Biological Sciences and chaired Constellation Professor in Bioinformatics and Biocomputation.

Other affililations: Chemistry and Chemical Biology


My research aims at understanding the molecular basis for biological function in two main areas. The first involves understanding how amino acid sequence controls protein structural dynamics using pressure perturbation combined with state-of-the-art biophysical techniques. This is important information for protein design strategies for bio-pharmaceutics and for bio-engineering applications, as well as for understanding the evolution of protein sequences and life in extreme environments. The second area of research that I pursue involves characterizing, quantitatively, the protein interactions implicated in the regulation of gene expression. Currently we are trying to understand the links between cell growth and division in the model organism, budding yeast by applying advanced quantitative microscopy approaches. Understanding what drives cells to divide is important for understanding and developing therapeutic strategies for the treatment of many diseases, including cancer.

Primary Research Focus
Sequence determinants of biomolecular conformational landscapes; Molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation
Other Focus Areas

pressure effects on biomolecules, protein folding, protein interaction networks, live cell quantitative fluorescence imaging, transcription regulation, molecular evolution



167. Wang, J., Koduru, T., Harish, B., McCallum, S.A., Larsen, K.P., Patel, K.S., Gillilan, R.E., Puglisi4, E.V., Puglisi, J.D., Makhatadze, G. & Royer, C.A., Pressure pushes tRNALys3 into excited conformational states (under review).

166. Zhang, S., McCallum, S.A., Gillilan, R.E., Wang, J. & Royer, C.A., High pressure CPMG and CEST reveal that cavity position dictates distinct dynamic disorder in the pp32 repeat protein, J. Phys. Chem. B. (under review).

165. Harish, B., Wang, J., Hayden, E.J., Grabe, B., Hiller, W, Winter, R. & Royer, C.A., Hidden intermediates in Mango III RNA aptamer folding revealed by pressure perturbation, Biophys. J., 121, 421-429 (2022).

164. Tollis, S., Singh, J., Palou, R., Thattikota, Y., Ghazal, G., Coulombe-Huntington, J., Tang, X., Moore, S., Blake, D., Bonneil, E., Royer, C.A., Thibault, P. & Tyers, M., The microprotein Nrs1 rewires the G1/S transcriptional machinery during nitrogen limitation in budding yeast, PLoS Biology 20, e3001548 (2022).

163. Colman, D.R., Labesse, G., Swapna, G.V.T., Stefanakis, J. Montelione, G.T., Boyd, E.S. & Royer, C.A., Structural evolution of the ancient enzyme, Dissimilatory Sulfite Reductase, Proteins: Struct. Func. Bioinformatics 90, 1331-1345 (2022).

162. Litsios, A., Goswami, P., Terpstra, H.M., Coffin, C., Vuillemenot, L.-A., Rovetta, M., Ghazal, G., Guerra, P., Buczac, K., Schmidt, A., Tollis, S. Tyers, M.T., Royer, C.A., Milas-Argeitis, A. & Heinemann, M., The timing of Start is determined primarily by increased synthesis of the Cln3 activator rather than dilution of the Whi5 inhibitor, Mol. Biol. Cell. 33, rp2 (2022). 


161. Harish, B., Gillilan, R.E., Zou, J., Wang, J., Raleigh, D.P. & Royer, C. A. Protein unfolded states populated at high and ambient pressure are similarly compact, Biophys. J. 120, 2592-2598 (2021).

160. Bafna, K., White, K., Harish, B., Rosales, R., Ramelot, T.A., Acton, T.B., Moreno, E., Kehrer, T., Miorin, L., Royer, C.A., Garcia-Sastre, A., Krug, R.M., & Montelione, G.T. HCV drugs that inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 papain-like protease synergize with remdesivir to suppress viral replication in cell culture, Cell Reports35, 109133 (2021).

159. Ando, N., Barquera, B., Bartlett, D., Boyd, E., Burnim, A.A., Byer, A.S., Colman, D., Gillilan, R.E., Gruebele, M., Makhatadze, G., Royer, C.A.*, Shock, E., Wand, A.J. & Watkins, M.B. The molecular basis for life in extreme environments, Ann. Rev. Biophys., 50, 343-372 (2021).

158. Bourges A.C., Torres-Montaguth, O.E., Tadesse, W., Labesse, G., Aertsen, A., Royer, C.A & Declerck, N. An oligomeric switch controls the Mrr-induced SOS Response in E. coli, DNA Repair, 97, 103009, 2021.


157. Bourges, A., A. Lazarev, N. Declerck, K.L. Rogers, and C. Royer. 2020. Quantitative high-resolution imaging of live microbial cells at high hydrostatic pressure. Biophys. J. 118, 2670-2679 (2020).

156. Black, L., Tollis, S., Fu, G., Fiche, J.-B., Dorsey, S., Cheng, J., Notley, S., Crevier, B., Bigness, J., Nollmann, M., Tyers, M. and Royer, C. A.G1/S transcription factors assemble in discrete clusters that increase in number as cells grow, J. Cell. Biol. 219, e202003041 (2020). 10.1083/jcb.202003041


The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Catherine Royer has 154 indexed publications in the subjects of Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and Astronomy.

Edgar Peters, Tejaswi Naidu Koduru, Noam Hantman, Jacqueline Cherfils, Scott A. McCallum, Richard E. Gillilan, Catherine A. Royer
Biophysical journal
, 122
, 2023
Daniel R. Colman, Gilles Labesse, Gurla V.T. Swapna, Johanna Stefanakis, Gaetano T. Montelione, Eric S. Boyd, Catherine A. Royer
Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics
, 90
, 2022
, pp.1331-1345
Athanasios Litsios, Pooja Goswami, Hanna M. Terpstra, Carleton Coffin, Luc Alban Vuillemenot, Mattia Rovetta, Ghada Ghazal, Paolo Guerra, Katarzyna Buczak, Alexander Schmidt, Sylvain Tollis, Mike Tyers, Catherine A. Royer, Andreas Milias-Argeitis, Matthias Heinemann
Molecular Biology of the Cell
, 33
, 2022
Sylvain Tollis, Jaspal Singh, Roger Palou, Yogitha Thattikota, Ghada Ghazal, Jasmin Coulombe-Huntington, Xiaojing Tang, Susan Moore, Deborah Blake, Eric Bonneil, Catherine A. Royer, Pierre Thibault, Mike Tyers
PLoS Biology
, 20
, 2022
Balasubramanian Harish, Jinqiu Wang, Eric J. Hayden, Bastian Grabe, Wolf Hiller, Roland Winter, Catherine A. Royer
Biophysical Journal
, 121
, 2022
, pp.421-429
Siwen Zhang, Scott A. McCallum, Richard E. Gillilan, Jinqiu Wang, Catherine A. Royer
Journal of Physical Chemistry B
, 126
, 2022
, pp.10597-10607
Paul Bogdan, Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, Anna Jolles, Hyunju Kim, James Morris, Cheryl A. Murphy, Catherine Royer, Edward H. Snell, Adam Steinbrenner, Nicholas Strausfeld
Integrative and Comparative Biology
, 61
, 2021
, pp.1991-2010
Vincent Van Deuren, Yin Shan Yang, Karine de Guillen, Cécile Dubois, Catherine Anne Royer, Christian Roumestand, Philippe Barthe
, 10
, 2021
Balasubramanian Harish, Richard E. Gillilan, Junjie Zou, Jinqiu Wang, Daniel P. Raleigh, Catherine A. Royer
Biophysical Journal
, 120
, 2021
, pp.2592-2598
Khushboo Bafna, Kris White, Balasubramanian Harish, Romel Rosales, Theresa A. Ramelot, Thomas B. Acton, Elena Moreno, Thomas Kehrer, Lisa Miorin, Catherine A. Royer, Adolfo García-Sastre, Robert M. Krug, Gaetano T. Montelione
Cell Reports
, 35
, 2021

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