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Joe Chihade

Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry

Education & Professional History

Oberlin College, BA; Columbia University, MA, PhD

My research interests are in the broad areas of protein-RNA interactions and RNA structure, with a particular focus on aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, the enzymes that decipher the genetic code. These areas lie at the intersection of biology and chemistry, and encompass wide variety of scientific perspectives. These range from the biological questions of which proteins interact with particular RNAs, what the consequences of these interactions are to the living cell, and how particular interactions evolved, to the more chemical questions of how a specific functional group influences a macromolecular interaction or changes the structure of a macromolecule, and how a simple chemical reagent can be used to elucidate biological function.

For several years research in the lab has been focused on characterizing substrate recognition of alanyl-tRNA synthetases which aminoacylate the highly unusual tRNAs found in animal mitochondria. New projects involve evaluating aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases from parasitic worms as potential drug targets.


At Carleton since 2003.

Organizations & Scholarly Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • RNA Society
  • Sigma Xi
  • Council on Undergraduate Research

Current Courses

  • Fall 2021
    CHEM 394: Student-Faculty Research
  • Winter 2022
    CHEM 234: Organic Chemistry II and Lab
  •  
    CHEM 394: Student-Faculty Research
  •  
    CHEM 400: Integrative Exercise
  • Spring 2022
    CHEM 234: Organic Chemistry II and Lab
  •  
    CHEM 394: Student-Faculty Research
  •  
    CHEM 400: Integrative Exercise
  • Fall 2022
    CHEM 233: Organic Chemistry I and Lab
  • Winter 2023
    BIOC 301: Survey of Biochemistry
  •  
    CHEM 233: Organic Chemistry I and Lab
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Curriculum Vitae

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