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Faculty Profile - Jovanka Tepavčević

Jovanka Koo faculty photo

Jovanka Tepavčević, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

On Faculty since 2013
630.752.5724



Dr. Tepavčević's scientific interests focus on the regulation of gene expression in bacteria and specifically on regulation at the post-transcriptional level. In recent years, the discovery of short, non-coding regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in both bacteria and eukaryotes, the majority of which act post-transcriptionally by base-pairing with target mRNAs, has received a great deal of attention. These sRNAs can modulate multiple regulatory circuits important for all aspects of bacterial physiology, including the regulation of virulence in pathogens. Many important questions regarding sRNA contribution to the bacterial lifestyle remain, and they pertain to the mechanism of sRNA action, the timing and duration of their function, and the implications of their evolution. Dr. Tepavčević is interested in understanding the regulation of the sRNA regulators themselves. Her personal interests include traveling, running, serving at my church, spending time with family and friends, and baking.

Northwestern University
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Microbiology-Immunology

Weill Cornell Medical College
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Microbiology and Immunology

University of Washington
Ph.D., Microbiology, 2004

Swarthmore College
B.A., Biology (High Honors), 1997

  • Molecular Mechanisms
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Gene Expression
  • Biology
  • Bacteria and Eukaryotes
  • American Society for Microbiology

Dr. Tepavčević studies how bacteria regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. She uses a marine bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, an exclusive symbiont of the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, as a model system to investigate how small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) and their chaperones regulate gene expression. Specifically, the lab is looking at the regulation of processes required for Vibrio colonization of the squid light organ, including motility, biofilm formation and bioluminescence.

  • BIOL 362 Cell and Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 364 Microbiology and Immunology
  • BIOL 370 Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • BIOL 252 Modeling the Systems of Life
  • BIOL 241Labs Organization of Life: Genetics & Cell Biology
  • BIOL 242 Labs Diversity of Life: An Intro to Zoology & Botany
  • CORE 311 Good in the Great Plagues

Genome-wide analysis of small RNAs expressed by Yersinia pestis identifies a regulator of the Yop-Ysc type III secretion system, Journal of Bacteriology

Schiano CA, Koo JT, Schipma MJ, Caulfield AJ, Jafari N, Lathem WW

Posttranscriptional regulation of the Yersinia pestis cyclic AMP receptor protein Crp and impact on virulence, mBio

Lathem WW, Schroeder JA, Bellows LE, Ritzert JT, Koo JT, Price PA, Caulfield AJ, Goldman WE, 2014

Global Discovery of Small Non-Coding RNAs in Pathogenic Yersinia Species, Advances in Yersinia Research

Koo JT and Lathem WW, 2012

Improved control of tuberculosis and activation of macrophages in mice lacking protein kinase R, PLoS ONE

Wu K, Koo J, Jiang X, Chen R, Cohen SN, Nathan C, 2012