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Meet Dr. Elizabeth Wasmuth

Dr. Elizabeth Wasmuth is a tenure-track Assistant Professor who joined the department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health at San Antonio (UTHSA) in 2022. Dr. Wasmuth is also the co-Director of the UTHSA cryo-electron microscopy facility. 

Dr. Wasmuth has a long-standing interest in how macromolecular protein complexes recognize and modify their nucleic acid ligands in normal and cancerous cells. For her doctoral work with Howard Hughes Medical Investigator (HHMI) Dr. Christopher Lima at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, she applied a combinatorial approach of biochemistry, X-ray crystallography, and yeast genetics to discover how the essential multisubunit RNA turnover complex called the RNA exosome commits to either RNA trimming or decay through coordination of its various catalytic activities, publishing landmark papers in Nature, Molecular Cell and eLife.


Applying principles of how molecular composition shapes substrate specificity and biological outcomes, Dr. Wasmuth pivoted towards studying how intrinsic properties of the androgen receptor (AR) alter its transcriptional activity in the context of advanced prostate cancer. Under the joint mentorship of HHMI Investigator Dr. Charles Sawyers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Dr. Sebastian Klinge at the Rockefeller University, Dr. Wasmuth pioneered means to isolate and biochemically characterize active, full- length AR, and using cryo-electron microscopy, defined how intrinsic flexibility of AR dimers contributes to an enhanced repertoire of AR binding sites (Molecular Cell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). The primary focus of Dr. Wasmuth’s research program is to uncover mechanisms of AR function and regulation, with the ultimate goal of discovering more effective therapies for advanced prostate cancer.

Dr. Wasmuth’s laboratory is equipped to perform a wide range of structural, biochemical, and cellular methodologies in-house. She is also proud to have close collaborations with numerous faculty at UT Health San Antonio (including Drs. Shaun Olsen and Patrick Sung), as well as several renowned prostate cancer researchers across the country.

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