header with Landick Lab members in a greenhouse
Hero image #2 with an illustration of RNA polymerase, version with text that reads: The Cell’s CPU: RNA Polymerase; RNA polymerase reads instructions from DNA and the cell that tell it how to express genetic information by pausing RNA synthesis at control sites.
Hero image #3 featuring an illustration of chromatin, version with text that reads: Transcription of Bacterial Chromatin; Bacterial genes are packaged by diverse chromatin proteins that govern gene expression. Unlike the relatively uniform nucleosomes in eukaryotes, multiple unrelated bacterial chromatin proteins impact gene expression via complex structures that remain poorly understood.
Hero image #4 featuring an illustration of the expressome, version with text that reads: Translating ribosomes and transcribing RNA polymerases talk to each other to coordinate the synthesis of functional mRNAs. Communication involves multiple mechanisms, including a direct-contact “expressome” interface, but the way information is exchanged is poorly understood.

RNA polymerase is the central enzyme of gene expression in all free-living organisms. We seek to understand how the fundamental properties of RNA polymerase, largely conserved from bacteria to human, make it susceptible to pausing, arrest, or termination and how elongation regulators, nucleoprotein structures, and metabolic, developmental, and environmental signals alter these properties.

We study the mechanisms by which gene expression by RNA polymerase is regulated and can be re-programmed for biodesign, and how these basic research advances can be applied to microbial biotechnology and to antibiotic discovery. Members of our lab develop and apply expertise from a variety of scientific disciplines, including genetics, biomolecular chemistry, synthetic biology, systems biology, biophysics, and structural biology, to both individual and collaborative projects.


  • Welcome to Kwame

    Kwame Frimpong has joined our lab as a graduate student in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) program. Welcome!

  • Congratulations to Yang Liu!

    Yang Liu successfully defended his thesis “Regulatory circuits to program Zymomonas mobilis metabolism for cellulosic advanced biofuel production” on July 30. Congratulations! He plans to return to China at the end of September.

  • Welcome to Kelly

    Kelly Wichmann has joined our group as a research intern. Welcome!