Esther Braselmann

Office: Regents Hall
Phone: 202-687-
Fax: 202-687-6209

Lab web site:

Education / Background

Diplom (Biochemistry) 2009, University of Bielefeld, Germany
Ph.D. (Biochemistry) 2014, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014-2020, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado

Research Interests

Ribonucleic acids (RNAs) are biomolecules with crucial and diverse roles in gene expression in all living cells. The spatial and temporal organization of RNAs within each cell is closely linked with proper cell function and disease states. Biomolecules can be visualized using fluorescent labels and their movements within cells can be observed by fluorescence microscopy down to the single molecule level. We are interested in “watching” biomolecules, including RNAs, move within living cells, developing approaches to make visualization possible, and gaining insights in underlying function.

Work in the Braselmann lab is interdisciplinary, using chemical biology, biochemistry and biophysical methods to develop tools and approaches to label and track RNAs in living cells via live cell fluorescence microscopy. We also use live cell fluorescence microscopy to investigate perturbations of cellular RNA dynamics in healthy and disease states. We are especially interested in understanding how RNA dynamics change upon cellular perturbations.

One acute cellular perturbation of RNA dynamics we are interested in is infection with intracellular bacteria, including the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the United States with a mortality rate of 20-30%. Listeria is a Gram-positive intracellular pathogen that enters mammalian host cells, replicates within them, spreads from cell to cell, and disseminates throughout the body while evading the host immune response. During its life cycle within mammalian host cells, a myriad of cellular processes are affected, leading to a rich repertoire of altered RNA processes. Insights from these studies may inform our understanding of cellular processes in healthy conditions, and lead to insights in bacterial infection.

Selected Publications

9. Braselmann. E., Rathbun, C.M., Richards, E. M., Palmer, A.E. (2020), Illuminating RNA biology: Tools for imaging RNA in live mammalian cells, Cell Chemical Biology, accepted.

8. Braselmann, E., Palmer, A.E. (2020), A multicolor riboswitch-based platform for imaging of RNA in live mammalian cell, Methods Enzymol., accepted.

7. Braselmann E.#, Stasevich T.J., Lyon K., Batey R.T., Palmer A.E.#, Detection and quantification of single mRNA dynamics with the Riboglow fluorescent RNA tag, in revision, bioRxiv pre-print: (#co-corresponding authors).

6. Braselmann E., Wierzba A.J.*, Polaski J.T.*, Chromiński M., Holmes Z. E., Hung S.-T., Batan D., Wheeler J. R., Parker R., Jimenez R., Gryko D., Batey R.T., Palmer A.E. (2018), A multicolor riboswitch-based platform for imaging of RNA in live mammalian cells, Nat. Chem. Biol., 14 (10), 964-971 (*equal contributions for A.J. Wierzba & J.T. Polaski).

5. Batan D.*, Braselmann E.*, Minson M., Nguyen D.M.T., Cossart P., Palmer A.E. (2018), A Multicolor Split-Fluorescent Protein Approach to Visualize Listeria Protein Secretion in Infection, Biophys. J., 115 (2), 251-62 (*equal contributions).

4. Braselmann E.*, Chaney J.L., Champion, M.M., Clark P.L. (2016) The DegP Chaperone Suppresses Toxic Inner Membrane Translocation Intermediates, PloS One, 11 (9), e0162922 (*corresponding author).

3. Cressiot B., Braselmann E., Oukhaled A., Elcock A.H., Pelta J.,Clark P.L. (2015) Dynamics and Energy Contributions for Transport of Unfolded Pertactin through a Protein Nanopore, ACS Nano, 9 (9), 9050-61.

2. Drobnak I., Braselmann E. & Clark P.L. (2015) Multiple driving forces required for efficient secretion of autotransporter virulence proteins, J. Biol. Chem., 290 (16), 10104-16.

1. Braselmann E., Chaney J.L. & Clark P.L. (2013) Folding the Proteome. Trends Biochem. Sci., 38 (7), 337-44. Featured on the cover.

Complete list of publications