Nebraska Chemistry is pleased to introduce Dr. Catherine “Katie” Eichhorn as one of the newest faculty members of the department. Eichhorn joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in August 2019 as an Assistant Professor.
Eichhorn’s passion for chemistry is motivated by her fascination for the molecular basis of disease. That curiosity for knowledge flourished at Bryn Mawr College (Pennsylvania), where she received a B.A. in Chemistry and performed undergraduate research with Professor Susan White. In White’s lab, Eichhorn studied the sequence dependence on RNA thermodynamic stability. Following her undergraduate tenure, Eichhorn began at University of Michigan Ann Arbor where she received a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology, under the advisement of Professor Hashim Al-Hashimi, who is now at Duke University. Her graduate research used solution NMR spectroscopy to study the conformational dynamics and biophysical properties of RNA in order to understand riboswitch ligand recognition and RNA folding.
Prior to joining Nebraska Chemistry, Eichhorn had been in a postdoctoral position at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). While at UCLA she worked with Professor Juli Feigon to investigate the structure and assembly of the core 7SK ribonucleoprotein complex using solution NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and biochemical methods.
Eichhorn looks forward to her group’s research at Nebraska. “My goals for my research group at UNL are to investigate the fundamental principles of noncoding RNA folding, assembly with proteins, and function in physiological conditions in order to better understand the molecular basis of diseases caused by malfunction of these systems,” she said. Eichhorn plans to utilize a variety of interdisciplinary methods and strategies, including NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, chromatography, and microscopy.
Eichhorn’s role extends beyond the Department of Chemistry. She also joins the Nebraska Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication (NCIBC) as a group project leader. NCIBC is an interdisciplinary cohort of UNL researchers developing research strengths directed toward understanding metabolic pathway shifts in complex diseases and to develop novel biomolecular sensing strategies to diagnose, stage, and gauge the effectiveness of therapies for these disorders.
Eichhorn also noted on why Nebraska has felt like the right fit, “I love that the Chemistry Department, and UNL on the whole, is extremely collaborative and interdisciplinary. I also love Lincoln – it is such a great city with so much to see and do.” We look forward to seeing how Dr. Eichhorn progresses in her research with Nebraska Chemistry.