Joanna Sztuba-Solinska
Department of Biological Sciences
Assistant Professor

Office: 312 Rouse Life Sciences Bldg.

Lab: 121/122 Rouse Life Sciences Bldg.

Address: 101 Life Sciences Bldg.
Auburn University, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-1784

Fax: (334) 844-1645



Ph.D. – Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
M.S. – Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
M.S. – University of Science and Technology, Bydgoszcz, Poland

Professional Employment
Senior Specialist in Biology, Affiliation with the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN, Poznan)
Postdoc - Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, NIH/NCI
Staff Scientist I - Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, NIH/NCI

Research and Teaching Interests

RNA has a breathtaking variety of functions, which far exceeds its classical role of a mediator between DNA and proteins. This range of functions is facilitated by RNA complex structure, and structure-mediated interactions with other RNAs, DNA, and proteins. Additionally, RNA can be modulated by post-transcriptional (or epitranscriptomic) modifications. These dynamic chemical tags can regulate RNA stability, structure, function, and both DNA and RNA viruses have evolved to utilize them to quench the cellular immune response and boost viral gene expression.  

My research team is focusing on exploring the structure, function, and epitranscriptomic regulation of viral coding and non-coding RNAs in the context of different viral systems, e.g., herpesviruses, coronaviruses, pestiviruses, flaviviruses, through national and international collaborations. Our projects lead to a deeper understanding of RNA biology, host-pathogen interaction, and can lead to the development of novel RNA-specific therapeutics.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications (last 5 years)



Swain M, Ageeli A, Kasprzak W, Li M, Miller J, Sztuba-Solinska J, Schneekloth J, Koirala D, Piccirilli J, Fabroni A, Murelli R, Wlodawer A, Shapiro B, Baird N, Le Grice S. 2021. Dynamic bulge nucleotides in the KSHV PAN ENE triple helix provide a unique binding platform for small molecule ligands. NAR-04139-F-2020.R


Afonin K, Chandler M, Johnson B, Khisamutdinov E, Dobrovolskaia M, Sztuba-Solinska J, Salem A, Breyne K, Chammas R, Walter N, Contreras L, Guo P. The International Society of RNA Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine (ISRNN): The Present and the Future of the Burgeoning Field. ACS Nano Manuscript ID: nn-2020-10240s.




Sztuba-Solinska J., Gosavi DG. Towards elucidating the structure, function, and druggability of coronavirus RNA. Advances in Biochemistry (Postepy Biochem). 66(4):323-335.  doi: 10.18388/pb.2020_362. PMID: 33470073.


Toomer GP., Gan HG., Sztuba-Solinska J. Long non-coding RNAs diversity in form and function - from microbes to humans. In: The Chemical biology of long noncoding RNAs. RNA TECHNOLOGIES, Springer Series, Volume 10.



Martin S, Blankenship C, Rausch JW, Sztuba-Solinska J. Using SHAPE-MaP to probe small molecule-RNA interactions. Methods Elsevier pii: S1046-2023(18)30366-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2019.04.009


Chavez-Calvillo G, Cline S, Sztuba-Solinska J.  Unveiling the druggable RNA targets and small molecule therapeutics. Bioorg Med Chem. 15;27(10):2149-2165. DOI: 10.1016/j.bmc.2019.03.057




Chavez-Calvillo G, Martin S, Hamm C, Sztuba-Solinska J. The structure-to-function relationships of Gammaherpesvirus-encoded long non-coding RNAs and their contributions to viral pathogenesis. Noncoding RNA. Sep 26;4(4). pii: E24. DOI: 10.3390/ncrna4040024.


Marshall V, Labo N., Sztuba-Solinska J, Cornejo Castro E., Aleman K., Wyvill KM., McNamara L., Le Grice S., Yarchoan R., Uldrick T., MacPhail P, Polizzotto MN, Whitby D. Polymorphisms in KSHV-encoded microRNA sequences affect levels of mature viral microRNA in Kaposi Sarcoma lesions. Oncotarget 9 (1949-2553), 35856-35869.


Rausch JW, Sztuba-Solinska J, Le Grice SFJ. Probing the structures of viral RNA regulatory elements with SHAPE and related methodologies. Front Microbiol. 8:2634. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02634.


Sztuba-Solinska J, Le Grice SFJ. The "Topological Train Ride" of a viral long non-coding RNA. RNA Biol.15(1):13-16. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2017.1391442.



Sztuba-Solinska J, Rausch JW, Smith R, Miller T, Whitby D, Le Grice SJF. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus polyadenylated nuclear RNA: a structural scaffold for nuclear, cytoplasmic, and viral proteins. Nucleic Acids Res DOI:10.1093/nar/gkx241


SFJ Le Grice, J Sztuba-Solinska, E Maccioni, KJ Purzycka, C Parolin, et al., Meeting report: Third Summer School on Innovative Approaches for Identification of Antiviral Agents (IAAASS). Antiviral Research 139:13-17.


Google Scholar Page: 



Undergraduate Graduate
Virology (BIOL 5230)
RNA in Biomedicine (BIOL 5560)
Virology (BIOL 6230)
RNA in Biomedicine (BIOL 5560)

Last updated: 01/03/2022