Lawson, Catherine L.

Research Professor



Mail: Rutgers University/Proteomics, 174 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Education and Prior Positions




My research explores the diverse landscape of biological structure-function relationships, with the goal of improving our fundamental understanding of life processes. My current projects involve structure database development (EMDataResource, Nucleic Acid Database, Protein Data Bank), with emphasis on improving representation of large biological assemblies.

We have developed an online curriculum, "PDB and Data Archiving," that introduces best practices in data resource management based on the extensive experience accumulated by the  Research Collaboratory for Bioinformatics team.

View all publications (PubMed)


  1. Henderson, R., Sali, A., Baker, M.L., Carragher, B., Devkota, B., Downing, K.H., Egelman, E.H., Feng, Z., Frank, J., Grigorieff, N., Jiang, W., Ludtke, S.J., Medalia, O., Penczek, P.A., Rosenthal, P.B., Rossmann, M.G., Schmid, M.F., Schroder, G.F., Steven, A.C., Stokes, D.L., Westbrook, J.D., Wriggers, W., Yang, H., Young, J., Berman, H.M., Chiu, W., Kleywegt, G.J., Lawson, C.L. (2012). Outcome of the first electron microscopy validation task force meeting. Structure 20, 205-214. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2011.12.014
  2. Carey, J., Benoff, B., Harish, B., Yuan, L., and Lawson, C.L. (2012). Environment-dependent long-range structural distortion in a temperature-sensitive point mutant. Protein science 21, 63-74. doi: 10.1002/pro.759 pdb: 3ssx,3ssw
  3. Lawson, C.L., Baker, M.L., Best, C., Bi, C., Dougherty, M., Feng, P., van Ginkel, G., Devkota, B., Lagerstedt, I., Ludtke, S.J.Newman, R.H., Oldfield, T.O., Rees, I., Sahni, G., Sala, R., Velankar, S., Warren, J., Westbrook, J.D., Henrick, K., Kleywegt, G.J., Berman, H.M., Chiu, W. (2011). unified data resource for CryoEM. Nucleic Acids Res 39, D456-464. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq880
  4. Lara-Gonzalez, S., Birktoft, J. J., Lawson, C. L. (2010) Structure of the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase alpha subunit C-terminal domain. Acta Cryst. D-Biological Crystallography 66, 806-812. doi:10.1107/S0907444910018470 pdb:3k4g 
  5. Hudson, B. P., Quispe, J., Lara-Gonzalez, S., Berman, H. M., Arnold, E., Ebright, R.H. & Lawson C. L. (2009). Three-dimensional EM Structure of an intact activator-dependent transcription initiation complex.  Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA . 106, 19830-5,EMDB: EMD-5127, PDB:3iyd
  6. Locasale, J. W., Napoli, A. A., Chen, S., Berman, H.M., & Lawson, C. L. (2009). Signatures of protein-DNA recognition in free DNA binding sites, J. Mol. Biol. 386, 1054-1065, PDB:1hq7,2b1b,2b1c,2b1d.
  7. Lawson, C.L., Dutta, S., Westbrook, J.D., Henrick, K. & Berman, H.M. (2008) Representation of Viruses in the Remediated PDB archive. Acta Cryst D 64:874-882.
  8. Napoli, A.A., Lawson, C.L., Ebright, R.H. & Berman, H.M. (2006) Indirect readout of DNA sequence at the primary-kink site in the CAP-DNA complex: recognition of pyrimidine-purine and purine-purine steps. J Mol Biol. 357:173-83. PDB: 1zrc, 1zre, 1zrf.
  9. Lawson, C.L., Yung, B.H., Barbour, A.G. and Zückert, W.R. (2006) Crystal structure of neurotropism-associated variable surface protein 1 (Vsp1) of Borrelia turicatae.  J Bacteriol  188:4522-30 (2006).
  10. C. Lawson, B. Benoff, T. Berger, H. Berman, J. Carey (2004) E. coli trp repressor forms a domain-swapped array in aqueous alcohol. Structure 12(6):1099-108 (2004)
  11. Lawson, C.L., Swigon, D., Murakami, K., Darst, S., Berman, H.M., Ebright, R.H. (2004) Catabolite Activator Protein: DNA bending and transcription activation.  Current Opinion in Structural Biology  14, 10-20.