Natalia Jura, Ph.D.
Natalia is an Associate Professor at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and an Investigator at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is also an Associate Director of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at UCSF. Natalia received her M.S in biochemistry from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Stony Brook University.
Natalia’s group at UCSF focuses on understanding how soluble protein kinases and membrane-associated receptor kinases assemble into functional complexes and regulate their signaling through protein-protein interactions. Her group also investigates alternative non-catalytic roles of protein kinases as scaffolds in cellular signaling pathways and applies this knowledge for design of small molecule inhibitors that target these poorly understood kinase functions in human diseases. Most of Natalia’s group current efforts focus on the EGFR/HER receptor tyrosine kinases. In the past, her group solved the first crystal structure of the HER3 kinase and of its heterotypic complex with EGFR, elucidating the molecular basis for their heterodimerization and mechanisms of action of cancer mutations. Now, using cryo-EM her group is investigating structures of long-awaited full-length receptor tyrosine kinase complexes.
Her group’s other recent work includes identification and characterization of a new protein kinase, PEAK3, and solving a first crystal structure of a HIPK kinase family member, HIPK2, an emerging target in lung cancer and fibrosis. Natalia’s scientific contributions have been recognized by a number of prestigious grants, including NIH, NCI R01 awards, career award from the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.
Natalia is an internationally recognized scientist and augments her research through teaching and organization of scientific conferences, such as FASEB and EMBL symposia. In her position of an Associate Director of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute, an organized research unit within UCSF, Natalia oversees promotion of interdisciplinary collaborative research at UCSF and beyond. Her leadership skills have recently been recognized by the Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Leadership Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).