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Juan Rodríguez-Molina

College positions:
Research Fellow
Biochemistry, Structural Biology
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Dr Juan B Rodríguez-Molina

Dr Juan Rodríguez-Molina is a Research Fellow of Clare Hall whose research focuses on biochemistry and structural biology.

Genomes carry the information needed for cells to grow, develop and survive. Our genomes (and the genes within them), however, are inert if they are not decoded to produce bioactive molecules such as proteins. In order for the encoded information within our genomes to be useful, it needs to be expressed. To express a gene, first the genomic DNA needs to be transcribed into an RNA. This process is called transcription, and is at the heart of Dr Rodriguez-Molina’s research interest.

After completing a BS in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Juan left his tropical island home to pursue a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, in Dr Aseem Ansari’s lab, he developed chemical and genomic tools that enabled a better understanding of how transcription works and how it’s regulated.

Juan is currently a research scientist in Dr Lori Passmore’s lab, where he studies RNA processing. As genes are transcribed, the newly made RNA is processed into its mature form by large molecular machines. RNA processing by these machines is essential for any given RNA to carry out its intended function. Moreover, because it is deeply intertwined with transcription, RNA processing also plays a crucial role in the regulation of transcription itself. How do these molecular machines process RNAs and regulate transcription remains a fundamental question in molecular biology. Juan uses biochemical, genomic and structural biology techniques to understand how molecular machines process RNAs and regulate transcription.

When not in lab, Juan is probably cooking, spending quality time with his family or rowing with the Clare Hall Boat Club (Yeah Clare Hall!).

Select publications

  • Mpe1 senses the polyadenylation signal in pre-mRNA to control cleavage and polyadenylation. Rodríguez-Molina JB, O’Reilly FJ, Sheekey E, Maslen S, Skehel JM, Rappsilber J, Passmore LA. bioRxiv. 2021
  • Dynamics in Fip1 regulate eukaryotic mRNA 3′-end processing. Kumar A, Yu CWH, Rodríguez-Molina JB, Li XH, Freund SMV, Passmore LA. Genes Dev. 2021
  • Engineered Covalent Inactivation of TFIIH-kinase Reveals an Elongation Checkpoint and Results in Widespread mRNA Stabilization. Rodríguez-Molina JB, Tsend SC, Simonett SP, Taunton J, Ansari AZ. Mol Cell. 2016. (These authors contributed equally)
  • Chemical Dissection of the CTD code. Tietjen JR, Zhang DW, Rodríguez-Molina JB, White BE, Akhtar MS, Heidemann M, Li X, Chapman RD, Shokat K, Keles S, Eick D, Ansari AZ. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010. (*These authors contributed equally)

Select awards

  • Juan de La Cierva Postdoctoral Fellowship (gratefully declined)

Further links