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Kostova Lab

We seek to uncover how changes in ribosome composition impact protein production and contribute to complex physiological processes, including development, adaptation, and disease initiation and progression.

Research Summary

How do changes in the ribosome promote health or drive disease?

Research Areas

Molecular and Cell Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics and Genomics


Zebrafish, Human cell lines

The Kostova Lab investigates the fundamental question of how changes in ribosome composition aid complex processes, such as development and adaptation, as well as disease initiation and progression.

The ribosome is one the most complex and long-lived molecular machines in the cell, and the presence of functional ribosomes is essential for life. Ribosome damage has been recently linked to complex human diseases, such as cancer and neurodegeneration. We use cutting-edge technology including CRISPR-mediated genome editing and genome scale screens to model and map the molecular pathways that ensure ribosome integrity.

Changes in the ribosome also accompany normal physiological processes, such as development. We use zebrafish as aresearch organism to study how maternally deposited ribosomes differ in structure and function from ribosomes assembled by the developing embryo. We are interested in how these programmed changes in the ribosome drive early embryogenesis.

Assistant Investigator

Kamena Kostova

Assistant Investigator

Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Get to know the Lab

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are foundational principles in our lab. We are committed to fostering an environment that values and respects individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or any other dimension of diversity.

We believe that diversity enriches our scientific pursuits, leading to innovative ideas, perspectives, and approaches. We actively strive to create a supportive and inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels welcome, valued, and empowered to contribute their unique insights and talents. We recognize the importance of equitable opportunities, fair treatment, and access to resources for all lab members.

By embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity, we aim to cultivate a vibrant and collaborative lab culture that celebrates the inherent worth and potential of every individual, and ultimately enhances our collective scientific achievements.

Unraveling the mysteries of ribosomes

Science offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. In the Kostova Lab we are committed to asking big questions that help uncover how broken ribosomes can facilitate disease initiation and progression.

Featured Publications

GIGYF2 and 4EHP Inhibit Translation Initiation of Defective Messenger RNAs to Assist Ribosome-Associated Quality Control

Kelsey L Hickey, Kimberley Dickson, J Zachery Cogan, Joseph M Replogle, Michael Schoof, Karole N D’Orazio, Niladri K Sinha, Jeffrey A Hussmann, Marco Jost, Adam Frost, Rachel Green, Jonathan S Weissman, Kamena K Kostova. Molecular Cell. 2020;79(6):950-962.e6.

CAT-tailing as a fail-safe mechanism for efficient degradation of stalled nascent polypeptides

Kamena K Kostova, Kelsey L Hickey, Beatriz A Osuna, Jeffrey A Hussmann, Adam Frost, David E Weinberg, Jonathan S Weissma. Science. 2017;357 (6349), 414-417

Stage-specific sensitivity to p53 restoration during lung cancer progression

David M Feldser, Kamena K Kostova, Monte M Winslow, Sarah E Taylor, Chris Cashman, Charles A Whittaker, Francisco J Sanchez-Rivera, Rebecca Resnick, Roderick Bronson, Michael T Hemann, Tyler Jacks. Nature. 2010;468 (7323), 572

Complete deletion of Apc results in severe polyposis in mice

Ann F Cheung, Alia M Carter, Kamena K Kostova, Joseph F Woodruff, Denise Crowley, Roderick T Bronson, Kevin M Haigis, Tyler Jacks. Oncogene. 2010;29 (12), 1857

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