Charlie Carter, PI 

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Current labmembers

Research Associate

Tiger Tang—Tiger worked four four years at Syngenta as a Senior Research Scientist. He was the leading scientist in their efforts to develop novel screening systems for insecticidal and microbial toxins as well as predicting cross-reactivity. Previously, he was a Senior Scientist in the Department of Structural and Molecular Biochemistry at North Carolina State University. Tiger is our laboratory manager, and he participates in all projects. At the moment he is primarily engaged in a combinatorial mutagenesis analysis of active-site residues in the Leucyl-tRNA synthetase urzyme, and in characterizing its catalysis of aminoacylation of tRNALeu minihelices.

Postdoctoral Associate

Sourav Kumar Patra—Sourav received his PhD degree from the University of Calcutta for research involving Characterization of the Nitrosative stress tolerance mechanisms in Vibrio cholerae, including in-vivo nitration and S-nitrosylation status of proteins. He is currently developing the analysis of amino acid activation by Histidyl-tRNA synthetase urzyme using the Malachite Green assay.


Recent labmembers

Research Student


Jessica Hobson—Jess is a trained microbiologist in her fourth year. Her thesis projects include engineering the TrpRS Urzyme to improve stability and activity, characterizing tRNA aminoacylation by the LeuRS Urzyme, testing elements of the operational RNA code, and demonstrating in vivo activity of the TrpRS Urzyme. She now is a postdoctoral associate with Robyn Stanley at NIEHS

Postdoctoral Associates


Sourav Roy

Sourav Roy is an enzymologist  with additional background in NMR spectroscopy. He has worked jointly with Rihe Liu and Eric Brustad on the selection of complementary RNA and peptide hairpins supported by the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution and the John Templeton Foundation. He workson the NMR structure of the highest affinity of the complexes he characterized.


Zhijie Li a structural biologist who trained as an X-ray crystallographer at Princeton. His work entails characterization of LeuRS, TrpRS, and HisRS Urzymes using NMR specctroscopy and other biophysical methods.


Aaron Cook trained at UNC as an X-ray crystallographer. His work focuses on combinatorial mutagenesis and thermodynamic cycle analysis of free energy coupling in the trpRS Urzyme.


Derek Mann has worked in the lab for two years. His project is to measure tRNA acylation kinetics of TrpRS KMSKS mutants in association with Jess Hobson’s in vitro Urzyme functionality project.


Holly Simmons just began work in the lab. She also works with Jess Hobson on several projects including purification of chimeric TrpRS  Urzyme variants.