Sheng Lab

Drs. Maksim Royzin and Jia Sheng, both of whom are wearing white lab coats and eye protection, look at a test tube with pink liquid and another with blue liquid in Dr, Sheng's hand.


About the Sheng Lab

We are a research lab in the Department of Chemistry and The RNA Institute within the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). Our research is mainly focused on the RNA chemical modification and RNA structure biology. We are currently located in the Life Science Research Building on UAlbany's Uptown Campus. 

Interested in joining our lab? Highly motivated researchers with a strong interest in studying nucleic acid chemistry and structures are welcome. Please contact Dr. Jia Sheng directly for more information. 


The long-term goal of our research is to understand nature’s strategies to diversify the structures and functions of RNA through chemical modifications and base pairing patterns; in so doing, we want to develop new methods for synthesizing modified RNA molecules as molecular tools for biomedical applications.

The past three decades have witnessed the great era of nucleic acids research with the discovery of new functions of RNAs as catalysts and regulators of numerous biochemical reactions in addition to the carriers of genetic information, the adapters in protein synthesis and the structural scaffolds in subcellular organelles. On the other hand, however, comparing to proteins that contain more than 20 different amino acid residues, RNA only contain four types of nucleobases. In order to achieve the structural and functional diversity, nature uses over 150 chemical modifications to decorate RNAs in all the three primary domains of life.

Many of these modifications have been demonstrated to play critical roles in a variety of human diseases and biological processes such as embryonic stem cell differentiation, development, regulation of RNA stability, circadian rhythms, temperature adaptation, meiotic progression, and regulation of RNA-RNA and RNA-protein binding interactions. More interestingly, it is believed that these chemical modifications are the most evolutionarily conserved properties in RNAs, and some of the modified nucleobases are relics of the RNA World, where they may have enhanced the chemical diversity of RNA prior to protein.

Liquid from a vial is dropped onto a small spoon.

In addition to chemical modifications, both DNA and RNA can further diversify their structures and functions by different folding patterns into well-defined duplex, hairpin, cruciform, triplex and quadruplex etc., which are mainly stabilized by both canonical Watson-Crick pairs and non-canonical Wobble, Hoogsteen, and metal-mediated base pairs, as well as other tertiary interactions. Therefore, studying natural chemical modifications and base-base interactions in DNA/RNA is important for the further elucidation of their biological functions, the development of new therapeutics, and the exploration in the origins of life.

We are also interested in developing novel RNA based catalysts for organic reactions and studying their catalytic mechanisms. Hybrid catalysis, which combines the high efficiency of active transition metals and the high chirality of biopolymer scaffolds (protein, DNA and RNA), represents a new generation of catalytic strategy. These scaffolds can transfer their chirality and promote a transformation with good enantioselectivity.

Based on the ‘RNA World Hypothesis’ and the beautiful homochirality of life, most likely it’s RNA that originated the chiral transformation in the early stage of life. Comparing to DNA and protein, RNA can fold into more diversified structures that can dynamically bind and activate the substrates, meaning that RNA can play more roles than merely the chiral scaffolds. By optimizing both RNA and metal ligands, we are trying to develop some high efficient catalysts for general organic reactions. 

To achieve these goals, we use multidisciplinary research approaches and techniques in organic synthesis, biophysics, biochemistry, cell biology and structure biology.


103. Zheng Y, Dartawan R, Wu Y, Wu C, Zhang H, Lu J, Hu A, Vangaveti S*, Sheng J*. Structural effects of inosine substitution in telomeric DNA quadruplex. Frontiers in Chemistry. 2024, doi: 10.3389/fchem.2024.1330378.

102. Zheng Y, Reddy K, Vangaveti S*, Sheng J*. Inosine-Induced Base Pairing Diversity during Reverse Transcription. ACS Chem. Biol. 2024, doi: 10.1021/acschembio.3c00555.

101. Todkari I, Chandrasekaran A. R., Abraham P. J., Mao S., Haruehanroengra P., Beckles C., Sheng J*, Halvorsen K*. Resolving altered base-pairing of RNA modifications with DNA nanoswitches. Nucleic Acids Res. 2023, 51, 11291-11297.

100. Rodriguez A, Gandavadi D, Mathivanan J, Song T, Madhanagopal BR, Talbot H, Sheng J, Wang X, Chandrasekaran AR. Self-Assembly of DNA Nanostructures in Different Cations. Small. 2023, 19, e2300040.

99. Li Y, Zhou H, Liu H, Gan Y, Zheng Y, Sheng J, Wang R*. Development of Nitroso-based Probes for Labeling and Regulation of RAS Proteins in Cancer Cells via Sequential Ene-Ligation and Oxime Condensation. J. Org. Chem.2023 Jan 23. doi: 10.1021/acs.joc.2c02922.

98. Hassan A, Hegazy H, Zaki I, Hassan M, Ramadan M, Haikal A, Sheng J*, Abou-Elkhair R*. Design, synthesis, and evaluation of 4'-phosphonomethoxy pyrimidine ribonuclease as potential anti-influenza agents. Arch Pharm. 2023 Feb 15. doi: 10.1002/ardp.202200382.

97. Liu H, Gao Y, Mathivanan J, Armour-Garb Z, Shao Z, Zhang Y, Zhao X, Shao Q., Zhang W, Yang J, Cao C, Li H, Sheng J*, Gan J*. Crystal Structure and identification of novel Cd2+-specific DNA aptamer. Nucleic Acids Res., 2023 Apr 4. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkad239.

96. Zheng Y, Haruehanroengra P, Yadav P, Irani S, Mao S, Wang T*, Hussain M, Sheng J*. Synthesis of Novel MicroRNA-30c Analogs to Reduce Apolipoprotein B Secretion in Human Hepatoma Cells. Bio-Protoc., 2022 Dec 20. doi: 10.21769/Bio.Protoc.4574.

95. Faheem H, Mathivanan J, Talbot H, Zeghal H, Vangaveti S, Sheng J, Chen A*, Chandrasekaran A*. Toehold clipping: A mechanism for remote control of DNA strand displacement. Nucleic Acids Res., 2022 Dec 8 :gkac1152. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkac1152.

94. Mathivanan J, Bai Z, Chen A*, Sheng J*. Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of a Novel 2'-5'-Linked Amikacin-Binding Aptamer: An Experimental and MD Simulation Study. ACS Chem Biol., 2022 Dec 1. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.2c00653.

93. Hoy A, Zheng YY, Sheng J*, Royzen M*. Bio-Orthogonal Chemistry Conjugation Strategy Facilitates Investigation of N-methyladenosine and Thiouridine Guide RNA Modifications on CRISPR Activity. CRISPR J., 2022 Dec 12.

92. Du J, Dartawan R, Rice W, Gao F, Zhou JH, Sheng J*. Fluorescent Platforms for RNA Chemical Biology Research. Genes, 2022, 13, 1348.

91. Almehmadi LM, Valsangkar VA, Halvorsen K, Zhang Q, Sheng J*, Lednev IK*. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for drug discovery: peptide-RNA binding. Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 2022, 414, 6009-6016.

90. Mathivanan J, Liu H, Gan J, Chandrasekaran AR*, Sheng J*. Fluorescent Aptaswitch for Detection of Lead Ions. ACS Appl Bio Mater, 2022, Jun 2. doi: 10.1021/acsabm.2c00368. PMID: 35652916

89. Haruehanroengra P, Zheng YY, Ma G, Lan TH, Hassan AEA, Zhou Y*, Sheng J*. Probing the Substrate Requirements of the in vitro GeranylationActivity of Selenouridine Synthase (SelU). ChemBioChem, 2022, e202200089.

88. Chang Z, Zheng YY, Mathivanan J, Valsangkar VA, Du J, Abou-Elkhair RAI, Hassan AEA*, Sheng J*. Fluorescence-based binding characterization of small molecule ligands targeting CUG RNA repeats. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 2022, 23, 3321.

87. Yadav PK, Haruehanroengra P, Irani S, Wang T, Ansari A, Sheng J*, Hussain MM*. Novel efficacious microRNA-30c analogs reduce apolipoprotein B secretion in human hepatoma and primary hepatocyte cells. J Biol Chem., 2022, Mar 9:101813. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.101813.PMID: 35278429

86. Ruszkowska A, Zheng Y, Mao S, Ruszkowski M, Sheng J*. Structural Insights Into the 5'UG/3'GU Wobble Tandem in Complex With Ba2+ Cation. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, 2022, 8, 762786.

85. Liu H, Gao Y, Mathivanan J, Shen F, Chen X, Li Y, Shao Z, Zhang Y, Shao Q, Sheng J*, Gan J*. Structure-guided development of Pb2+-binding DNA aptamers. Sci Rep., 2022, 12, 460.

84. Liu H, Mao S, Sheng J*, Gan J*. Crystallization and Structural Determination of 8-17 DNAzyme, Methods Mol Biol., 2022, 2439,117-130.

83. Zheng YY, Sheng J*. The origin of translation, Nature Chemistry, 2021, 13, 725-726.

82. Abou-Elkhair RAI, Du J, Wasfy AA, Khaill NA, Maaroof HM, Hassan MH, Ahmed AS, Hassan AEA, Sheng J*. Synthesis of 6-Aza-2-Hydroxyimino-5-Methylpyrimidine Nucleosides for Antiviral Evaluation. Curr Protoc Nucleic Acid Chem., 2021, 1, e329.

81. Mathivanan J, Du J, Mao S, Zheng YY, Sheng J*. Synthesis and Purification of N3 -Methylcytidine (m3C) Modified RNA Oligonucleotides. Curr Protoc Nucleic Acid Chem., 2021, 1, e307.

80. Chang Z, Mao S, Zheng YY, Sheng J*. Synthesis and Functionality Study of Photoswitchable Hydrazone Oligodeoxynucleotides. Curr Protoc Nucleic Acid Chem., 2021, 1, e295.

79. He M, Wu X, Mao S, Haruehanroengra P, Khan I, Sheng J, Royzen M. Non-Chromatographic Purification of Synthetic RNA Using Bio-Orthogonal Chemistry. Curr Protoc Nucleic Acid Chem., 2021, 1, e247.

78. Zheng YY, Mao S, Sheng J*. Synthesis of N4 -Methylcytidine (m4C) and N4 ,N4 -Dimethylcytidine (m42C) Modified RNA. Curr Protoc Nucleic Acid Chem., 2021, 1, e248.

77. Zhou L, Hayden A, Chandrasekaran AR, Vilcapoma J, Cavaliere C, Dey P, Mao S, Sheng J, Dey BK, Rangan P, Halvorsen K. Sequence-selective purification of biological RNAs using DNA nanoswitches. Cell Rep Methods, 2021, 1, 100126.

76. Zheng YY, Wu Y, Begley T*, Sheng J*. Sulfur Modification in Natural RNA and Therapeutic Oligonucleotides, RSC Chemical Biology, 2021, 2, 990-1003.

75. Valsangkar VA, Vangaveti S, Lee GW, Fahssi WM, Awan WS, Huang Y, Chen AA, Sheng J*. Structural and Binding Effects of Chemical Modifications on Thrombin Binding Aptamer (TBA), Molecules, 2021, 26, 4620.

74. He M, Wu X, Mao S, Haruehanroengra P, Khan I, Sheng J, Royzen M. Bio-orthogonal chemistry enables solid phase synthesis and HPLC and gel-free purification of long RNA oligonucleotides, Chem. Commun., 2021, 57, 4263-4266.

73. Zhou L, Chandrasekaran AR, Yan M, Valsangkar VA, Feldblyum JI, Sheng J, Halvorsen K. A mini DNA-RNA hybrid origami nanobrick, Nanoscale Adv., 2021, 3, 4048-4051.

72. Mao S, Chang Z, Zheng YY, Shekhtman A, Sheng J*. DNA Functionality with Photoswitchable Hydrazone Cytidine. Chem. Eur. J., 2021, 27, 8372-8379.

71. Mao S, Haruehanroengra P, Ranganathan SV, Shen F, Begley T, Sheng J*. Base Pairing and Functional Insights into N3-methylcytidine (m3C) in RNA. ACS Chemical Biology, 2021, 16 (1), 76-85.

70. Haruehanroengra P, Vangaveti S, Ranganathan SV, Mao S, Su MD, Chen AA, Sheng J*. Terpene Chain Length Affects the Base Pairing Discrimination of S-geranyl-2- thiouridine in RNA Duplex. ISCIENCE, 2020, 23(12): 101866.

69. Abou-Elkhair RAI, Wasfy AA, Mao S, Du J, Eladl S, Metwally K, Hassan AEA, Sheng J*. 2-Hydroxyimino-6-aza-pyrimidine nucleosides: synthesis, DFT calculations, and antiviral evaluations. New J. Chem., 2020, 44, 19650-19662.

68. Shen F, Mao S, Mathivanan J, Wu Y, Chandrasekaran AR, Liu H, Gan J, Sheng J*. Short DNA Oligonucleotide as a Ag+ Binding Detector. ACS Omega, 2020, 5(44): 28565-28570.

67. Chandrasekaran AR, Mathivanan J, Ebrahimi P, Vilcapoma J, Chen AA, Halvorsen K, Sheng J*. Hybrid DNA/RNA nanostructures with 2'-5' linkages. Nanoscale, 2020, 12(42): 21583-21590.

66. Wang B, Peng F, Huang W, Zhou J, Zhang N, Sheng J, Haruehanroengra P, He G, Han B. Rational drug design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel chiral tetrahydronaphthalene-fused spirooxindole as MDM2-CDK4 dual inhibitor against glioblastoma. Acta Pharm Sin B., 2020, 10(8): 1492-1510.

65. Mao S, Sekula B, Ruszkowski M, Ranganathan SV, Haruehanroengra P, Wu Y, Shen F, Sheng J*. Base pairing, structural and functional insights into N4-methylcytidine (m4C) and N4,N4-dimethylcytidine (m42C) modified RNA. Nucleic Acids Res., 2020, 48(18): 10087-10100.

64. Mao S, Tsai HC, Sheng J*. Synthesis of 5-Cyanomethyluridine (cnm5U) and 5-Cyanouridine (cn5U) Phosphoramidites and Their Incorporation into RNA Oligonucleotides. Curr Protoc Nucleic Acid Chem., 2020, 82(1): e114.

63. Wu Y, Zheng YY, Lin Q, Sheng J*. Detection and Quantification of RNA Phosphorothioate Modifications Using Mass Spectrometry. Curr Protoc Nucleic Acid Chem., 2020, 82(1): e113.

62. Wu Y, Tang Y, Dong X, Zheng YY, Haruehanroengra P, Mao S, Lin Q, Sheng J*. RNA Phosphorothioate Modification in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. ACS Chemical Biology, 2020, 15 (6), 1301-1305.

61. Haruehanroengra P, Zheng Y, Zhou Y, Huang Y,* Sheng J*. RNA Modifications and Cancer. RNA Biology, 2020, 17 (11), 1560-1575.

60. Valsangkar VA, Chandrasekaran AR, Zhuo L, Mao S, Lee GW, Kizer M, Wang X, Halvorsen K*, Sheng J*. Click and photo-release dual-functional nucleic acid nanostructures. Chem Commun., 2019, 55(65): 9709-9712.

59. Chandrasekaran AR, Abraham Punnoose J, Valsangkar V, Sheng J, Halvorsen K. Integration of a photocleavable element into DNA nanoswitches. Chem Commun., 2019, 55(46): 6587-6590.

58. Ong AAL, Toh DK, Patil KM, Meng Z, Yuan Z, Krishna MS, Devi G, Haruehanroengra P, Lu Y, Xia K, Okamura K, Sheng J, Chen G. General Recognition of U-G, U-A, and C-G Pairs by Double-Stranded RNA-Binding PNAs Incorporated with an Artificial Nucleobase. Biochemistry, 2019, 58(10):1319-1331.

57. Mao S, Ranganathan SV, Tsai HC, Haruehanroengra P, Shen F, Valsangkar VA, Han B, Hassan AEA, Chen A, Sheng J*. Cyano-modification on Uridine Decrease the Base Pairing Stability and Specificity through Neighbouring Disruption in RNA Duplex. Chembiochem, 2018, 19(24):2558-2565.

56. Liu H, Wang R, Yu X, Shen F, Lan W, Haruehanroengra P, Yao Q, Zhang J, Chen Y, Li S, Wu B, Zheng L, Ma J, Lin J, Cao C, Li J, Sheng J*, Gan J*. High-resolution DNA quadruplex structure containing all the A-, G-, C-, T-tetrads. Nucleic Acids Res., 2018, 46(21):11627-11638.

55. Zhang Y, Wang C, Huang W, Haruehanroengra P, Peng C, Sheng J, Han B, He G. Application of organocatalysis in bioorganometallic chemistry: asymmetric synthesis of multifunctionalized spirocyclic pyrazolone–ferrocene hybrids as novel RalA inhibitors. Organic Chemistry Frontiers, 2018, 5, 2229-2233.

54. Wang R, Ranganathan SV, Haruehanroengra P, Mao S, Scalabrin M, Fabris D, Chen A, Liu H, Hassan AEA, Gan J, Sheng J*. Construction and structure studies of DNA-bipyridine complexes as versatile scaffolds for site-specific incorporation of metal ions into DNA. J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn., 2018, Feb 22:1-11. doi: 10.1080/07391102.2018.1441071.

53. Guallar D, Bi X, Pardavila JA, Huang X, Saenz C, Shi X, Zhou H, Faiola F, Ding J, Haruehanroengra P, Yang F, Li D, Sanchez-Priego C, Saunders A, Pan F, Valdes VJ, Kelley K, Blanco MG, Chen L, Wang H, Sheng J, Xu M, Fidalgo M, Shen X, Wang J. RNA-dependent chromatin targeting of TET2 for endogenous retrovirus control in pluripotent stem cells. Nature Genetics, 2018, 50, 443-451.

52. Liu H, Yu X, Chen Y, Zhang J, Wu B, Zheng L, Haruehanroengra P, Wang R, Li S, Lin J, Li J, Sheng J, Huang Z, Ma J, Gan J. Crystal structure of an RNA-cleaving DNAzyme. Nature Communications, 2017, 8, 2006.

51. Liu H, Shen F, Haruehanroengra P, Yao Q, Cheng Y, Chen Y, Yang C, Zhang J, Wu B, Luo Q, Cui R, Li J, Ma J*, Sheng J*, Gan J*. A novel DNA structure containing AgI-mediated G:G and C:C base pairs. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 9430-9434.

50. Haruehanroengra P, Vangaveti S, Ranganathan S V, Wang R, Chen A, Sheng J.* Nature's selection of geranyl group as a tRNA modification: the effects of chain length on base-pairing specificity. ACS Chemical Biology, 2017, 12, 1504-1513.

49. Valsankar VA, Chandrasekaran AR, Wang R, Haruehanroengra P, Levchenko O, Halvorsen K*, Sheng J*. Click-based functionalization of a 2'-O-propargyl-modified branched DNA nanostructure. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2017, 5, 2074-2077.

48. Shen F, Luo Z, Wang R, Liu H, Zhang S, Gan J*, Sheng J*. Structural insights into RNA duplexes with multiple 2'-5'-linkages. Nucleic Acids Research, 2017, 45, 3537-3546.

47. Liu H, Cai C, Haruehanroengra P, Yao Q, Cheng Y, Yang C, Luo Q, Wu B, Li J, Ma J*, Sheng J*, Gan J.* Flexibility and Stabilization of HgII-mediated C:T and T:T base pairs in DNA duplex. Nucleic Acids Research, 2017, 45, 2910-2918.

46. Wang R, Haruehanroengra P, Sheng J.* Synthesis of Geranyl-2-thiouridine modified RNA. Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry, 2017, 68:4.72.1-4.72.13.

45. Basanta-Sanchez M, Wang R, Liu Z, Ye X, Li M, Shi X, Agris P, Zhou Y, Huang Y*, Sheng J*. TET1-mediated Oxidation of 5-formylcytosine (5fC) to 5-carboxycytosine (5caC) in RNA. ChemBioChem, 2017, 18, 72-76.

44. Wang R, Vangaveti S, Ranganathan S V, Sanchez M B, Haruehanroengra P, Chen A, Sheng J.* Synthesis, base pairing and structure studies of geranylated RNA. Nucleic Acids Research, 2016, 44, 6036-6045.

43. Wang R, Luo Z, He K, Delaney MO, Chen D, Sheng J.* Base pairing and structural insights into the 5-formylcytosine in RNA duplex. Nucleic Acids Research, 2016, 44, 4968-4977.

42. Agustin E, Asare Okai PN, Khan I, Miller MR, Wang R, Sheng J, Royzen M. A fast click-slow release strategy towards the HPLC-free synthesis of RNA. Chemical Communications, 2016, 52, 1405-1408.

41. Robertson NM, Toscano AE, LaMantia VE, Hizir MS, Rana M, Balcioglu M, Sheng J, Yigit MV. Unlocked Nucleic Acids for miRNA detection using two dimensional nano-graphene oxide. Biosens. Bioelectron., 2016, pii: S0956-5663(16), 30164-30166.

40. Hizir MS, Top M, Balcioglu M, Rana M, Robertson NM, Shen F, Sheng J, Yigit MV. Multiplexed Activity of perAuxidase: DNA-Capped AuNPs Act as Adjustable Peroxidase. Anal. Chem., 2016, 88, 600-605.

39. Wang R, Ranganathan S V, Valsankar V A, Magliocco S M, Shen F, Chen A, Sheng J.* Water-bridged hydrogen bond formation between 5-hydroxylmethylcytosine (5-hmC) and its 3’-neighbouring bases in A- and B-form DNA duplexes. Chemical Communications, 2015, 51, 16389-16392.

38. Wang R, Ranganathan S V, Sanchez M B, Shen F, Chen A, Sheng J.* Synthesis and Base Pairing Studies of Geranylated 2-thiothymidine, a Natural Variant of Thymidine. Chemical Communications, 2015, 51, 16369-16372.

37. Larsen A, Fahrenbach A C, Sheng J, Pian J, Szostak J W. Thermodynamic Insights into 2-thiouridine-enhanced RNA hybridization. Nucleic Acids Research, 2015, 43, 7675-7687.

36. Sheng J, Larsen A, Heuberger B D, Blain J C, Szostak J W. Crystal Structure Studies of RNA Duplexes Containing S2U:A and S2U:U Base Pairs. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13916-13924.

35. Sheng J, Li L, Engelhart A E, Gan J, Wang J, Szostak J W. Structural Insights into the Effects of 2’-5’ linkages on the RNA Duplex. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A, 2014, 111, 3050-3055.

34. Sheng J, Gan J, Huang Z. Structure-Based DNA-Targeting Strategies with Small Molecule Ligands for Drug Discovery. Medicinal Research Reviews, 2013, 33, 1119-1173.

33. Sheng J, Gan, J, Soares, A, Salon, J, Huang Z. Structural Insights of Non-canonical U-U Pair and Hoogsteen Interaction Probed with Se Atom. Nucleic Acids Research, 2013, 41, 10476-10487.

32. Sheng J, Zhang W, Hassan A, Gan J, Soares A, Geng S, Ren Y, Huang Z. Hydrogen Bond Formation between the Naturally Modified Nucleobase and Phosphate Backbone. Nucleic Acids Research, 2012, 40, 8111-8118.

31. Sheng J, Huang Z. Selenium Derivatization of Nucleic Acids for X-ray Crystal-Structure and Function Studies", Chemistry and Biology of Artificial Nucleic Acids, 2012, 329-361.

30. Sun H, Sheng J, Hassan A, Jiang S, Gan J, Huang Z. Novel RNA Base Pair with Higher Specificity Using Single Selenium Atom. Nucleic Acids Research, 2012, 40, 5171–5179.

29. Zhang W, Sheng J, Hassan A, Huang Z. Synthesis of novel 2’-Deoxy-5-(Methylselenyl)Cytidine and Se-DNAs for Structure and Function Studies. Chemistry-An Asian Journal, 2012, 7, 476-479.

28. Jiang S, Sheng J, Huang Z. Synthesis of the Tellurium-Derivatized Phosphoramidites and their Incorporation into DNA Oligonucleotides. Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid, 2012, 1.25.1-1.25.16

27. Sheng J, Hassan A, Zhang W, Zhou J, Xu B, Soares A, Huang Z. Synthesis, structure and imaging of oligodeoxyribonucleotides with tellurium-nucleobase derivatization. Nucleic Acids Research, 2011, 39, 3962-3971.

26. Lin L, Sheng J, Huang Z. "Nucleic Acid X-ray Crystallography via Direct Selenium Derivatization", Chemical Society Reviews, 2011, 40, 4591.

25. Dai C, Wang L, Sheng J, Peng H, Draganov A, Huang Z, Wang B. The First Chemical Synthesis of Boronic Acid-modified DNA through Copper-free Click Reaction. Chemical Communications, 2011, 47, 3598-3600.

24. Zhang W, Sheng J, Huang Z. Structures and Functions of Nucleic Acids Modified with S, Se and Te and Complexed with Small Molecules. Medicinal Chemistry of Nucleic Acids, 2011, 101-141.

23. Gan J, Sheng J, Huang Z. Chemical and Structural Biology of Nucleic Acids and Protein-nuclei Acid Complexes for Novel Drug Discovery. Science in China B: Chemistry, 2011, 54 (1), 3-23.

22. Lin L, Williams J, Kaur M, Patino A, Sheng J, Punetha J, Huang Z. Facile Synthesis of Nucleoside 5’-(α-P-seleno)-triphosphates and Phosphoroselenoate RNA Transcription", RNA, 2011, 17, 1932-1938.

21. Sheng J, Salon J, Gan J, Huang Z. Synthesis and Crystal Structure Study of 2’-Se-adenosine Derivatized DNA. Science in China B: Chemistry, 2010, 53(1), 78-85.

20. Hassan A, Sheng J, Zhang W, Huang Z. High Fidelity of Base Paring by 2-Selenothymidine in DNA. Journal of American Chemical Society, 2010, 132, 2120-2121.

19. Salon J, Sheng J, Gan J, Huang Z. Synthesis and Crystal Structure of 2’-Se-modified Guanosine Containing DNA. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2010, 75, 637-641.

18. Sheng J, Huang Z. Selenium Derivatization of Nucleic Acids for Structure and Function Studies, Chemistry and Biodiversity, 2010, 7, 753-785.

17. Sheng J, Hassan A, Huang Z. Synthesis of the First Tellurium-Derivatized Oligonucleotides for Structural and Functional Studies. Chemistry—A European Journal, 2009, 15 (39), 10210-10216.

16. Hassan A, Sheng J, Jiang J, Zhang W, Huang Z. Synthesis and Crystallographic Analysis of 5-Se-thymidine DNAs. Organic Letters, 2009, 11, 2503-2506.

15. Lin L, Sheng J, Momin R, Du Q, Huang Z. Facile synthesis and anti-tumor cell activity of Se-containing nucleosides. Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, 2009, 28, 56-66.

14. Sheng J, Hassan A, Huang Z. Telluride-Mediated Elimination and Novel Synthesis of 2’,3’-Didehyro-2’,3’-dideoxynucleosides (d4Ns). The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2008, 73(10), 3725-3729.

13. Sheng J, Huang Z. Synthesis of a 4-Se-Thymidine Phosphoramidite and Incorporation into Oligonucleotides. Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry, 2008, 32: 1.19.1-1.19.13.

12. Salon J, Jiang J, Sheng J, Gerlits O, Huang Z. Derivatization of DNAs with Selenium at 6-Position of Guanine for Function and Crystal Structure Studies, Nucleic Acids Research, 2008, 36, 7009-7018.

11. Sheng J, Huang Z. Selenium Derivatization of Nucleic Acids for Phase Determination in Nucleic Acid X-ray Crystallography, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2008, 9, 258-271.

10. Salon J, Sheng J, Jiang J, Chen G, Caton-Williams J, Huang Z. Oxygen Replacement with Selenium at the Thymidine 4-position for the Se Base Paring and Crystal Structure Studies. Journal of American Chemical Society, 2007, 129, 4862-4863.

9. Jiang J, Sheng J, Carrasco N, Huang Z. Selenium Derivatization of Nucleic Acids for Crystallography. Nucleic Acids Research, 2007, 35, 477-485.

8. Sheng J, Jiang J, Salon J, Huang Z. Synthesis of a 2’-Se-Thymidine Phosphoramidite and Its Incorporation into Oligonucleotides for Crystal Structure Study. Organic Letters, 2007, 9, 749-752.

7. Wang L*, Sheng J, Zhang L, Han J, Fan Z, Tian H. Facial Yb(OTf)3 Promoted One-Pot Synthesis of Polyhydroquinoline Derivatives Through Hantzsch Reaction. Tetrahedron, 2005, 61, 1539-1543.

6. Wang L*, Han J, Tian H, Sheng J, Fan Z, Tang X. Rare earth Perfluorooctanoates[RE(PFO)3]-catalyzed Condensations of Indole with Carbonyl Compounds, Synlett, 2005, 2, 337-339.

5. Wang L*, Han J, Sheng J, Tian H. Rare Earth Perfluorooctanoate [RE(PFO)3] Catalyzed One-pot Mannich Reaction: Three Component Synthesis of β-Amino Carbonyl Compounds, Catalysis communications, 2005, 6 (3), 201-204.

4. Wang L*, Sheng J, Zhang L, Han J, Fan Z, Tian H. Solvent-free Knoevenagel Condensation Catalyzed by Yb(OTf)3. Chinese Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2005, 25, 964-968.

3. Wang L*, Sheng J, Tian H, Han J, Fan Z, Qian C. A Convenient Synthesis of α,α’-Bis(substituted benzylidene) cycloalkanones Catalyzed by Yb(OTf)3 Under Solvent-free Conditions. Synthesis, 2004, 18, 3060-3064.

2. Wang L*, Sheng J, Tian H, Qian C. An Efficient Procedure for the Synthesis of Benzimidazole Derivatives Using Yb(OTf)3 as Catalyst under Solvent-free Conditions. Synthetic Communications, 2004, 34, 4265-4272.

1. Wang L*, Sheng J, Tian H. Yb(OTf)3 Catalyzed Synthesis of Advanced Organic synthesis Reaction. Journal of the Chinese Rare Earth Society, 2004, 22 (6), 725-733.


Mahmood Hussain, Jia Sheng, Pradeep Yadav, Phensinee Haruehanroengra, Title: “Novel Efficacious Microrna-30C Analogs Reduce Apolipoprotein B Secretion In Human Liver Cells”, 2022, U.S. Patent App. No. 63/306,726. Filed Date: Feb. 4, 2022.

Jia Sheng, Song Mao, Title: “Photoswitchable DNA and RNA Nucleotides for the Light-driven Control of Base Pairing, PCR and CRISPR”, 2022, Case No. 010-22-08.

Jia Sheng, Zhihua Chang, Title: “Fluorescence-based Binding Characterization and Screening of Small Molecule Ligands as Potential Drug Candidates Targeting RNA Repeats Associated Neurodegenerative Diseases”, 2022,  Case No. 010-22-11.

Zhen Huang, Jia Sheng, Title: “Improved Method and Process for Synthesis of 2’,3’-Didehyro-2’,3’-dideoxynucleosides (d4Ns)”, 2010, US Patent Application No. 12/933,619 (National Phase Filing of PCT/US09/37823).

Zhen Huang and Jia Sheng, Title: “Novel Compounds and Synthesis of Tellurium-derivatized Oligonucleotides for Structural and Functional Studies”, 2010, PCT/US10/36639.

Zhen Huang, Abdalla Hassan, Jia Sheng and Wen Zhang, Title: “Novel Compound and Derivatizaton of DNAs and RNAs on the Nucleobases of Pyrimidines for Function, Structure and Therapeutics”, 2010, PCT/US10/35631.

Zhen Huang, Jia Sheng and Abdalla Hassan, Title: “Novel Compounds and Derivatization of DNAs and RNAs at the 2' and 5-positions of pyrimidines with tellurium functionalities for function, structure, imaging, diagnosis, and therapeutics”, 2009, US Provisional Patent Application, 61/182,580.

Limin Wang, Zhao-Yu Fan, Jianwei Han, Jia Sheng, He Tian. “Synthesis of novel cationic silicon type dye-fixatives with high activities”. Patent Application No. 200410025014.5 Patent No. ZL200410025014.5,  June-14, 2006.

Limin Wang, Jianwei Han, Zhao-Yu Fan, He Tian, Jia Sheng. Synthesis of Rare Earth Lewis Acids Catalysts with long perfluoro-chain. Application No. 200410024683.0 Patent No. ZL200410024683.0, Mar-07, 2007.

Principal Investigator

Jia Sheng
Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry; The RNA Institute
LS 2033B


Other Lab Members

Post-doctoral Associates
Stephen Dansereau

Stephen Dansereau ([email protected])


Iranna Todkari

Iranna Todkari ([email protected])


Miao Zhong

Miao Zhong ([email protected])

PhD Students
Ya Ying Zheng

Ya Ying Zheng ([email protected])


Jinxi Du

Jinxi Du ([email protected])


Amy Mascorro

Amy Mascorro ([email protected])


Yu Sheng Chen

Yu Sheng Chen ([email protected])

Undergraduate Researchers
Andrew Mika

Andrew Mika ([email protected])

Angela White

Angela White ([email protected])

Audrey Coons

Audrey Coons ([email protected])

Cierra Vialva

Cierra Vialva ([email protected])

Lucas Hooker

Lucas Hooker ([email protected])

Lab Alumni

Zhihua Chang (Postdoc, Stanford University)

Johnsi Mathivanan (Postdoc, The RNA Institute)

Song Mao (Assistant Director of Chemistry, R&D, Yunho BioScience)

Yaning Tang (Senior Research Scientist, Shanghai Huaaoxin Life Science Co., Ltd.)

Ying Wu (Senior Research Scientist, Janssen R&D)

Vibhav A. Valsangkar (Research Scientist, Sixfold BioScience, Ltd.)

Phensinee Haruehanroengra (Research Scientist, Atlanta Therapeutics)

Yicheng Huang (High school student volunteer, current: MIT)

Max Su (High school student volunteer, current: Yale University)

Gohwoon Lee (MS student)

William Rice (PhD Student, UAlbany)

Bethany Matala (High school student volunteer through ACS SEED Program)

Fusheng Shen (General Manager, ZHejian Tize Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd)

Hsu-Chun Tsai (MS student. Current: Ph.D. student, Rutgers University)

Bo Han (Visiting Scholar, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine)

Ishmeet Sekhon (Undergraduate student)

Maya Sunar (Undergraduate student)

Oksana Levchenko (The RNA Institute)

Tonghui Lin (Undergraduate student)

Thomas Glozman (Undergraduate student)

Rui Wang (Post-doc. Current: Huazhong University of Science and Technology)

Doris Chen (Undergraduate student. Current: Graduate Student in Georgia Institute of Technology)

Zubair A. Syed (Undergraduate student. Current: Albany Molecular Research, Inc)

Victoria R. Pelliccia (Undergraduate student. Current: Albany Molecular Research, Inc)

Joseph M. Nagy (Undergraduate student, UAlbany)

Zhuo Shi (Visiting undergraduate student, UC Berkley)