Assistant Professor Paola Laurino

I am an organic chemist with broad interests in biochemistry and protein evolution.

I am an organic chemist with broad interests in biochemistry and protein evolution. I was born and grew up in Italy. After pursuing a master in medicinal chemistry in the Netherlands, I started my doctoral studies in organic chemistry in ETHZ (Switzerland). During my PhD I moved to Max Plank Institute (Germany) along with my mentor and there finished my doctoral studies. As postdoctoral fellow I spent the last four years studying enzyme evolution and engineering in Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel).

Areas of expertise: protein engineering and evolution 

Selected media coverage: 

Podcast: Unravelling enzymes - OIST 


Awards, fellowships and grants

  • 2022 Takeda grant

  • 2022 Rita Colwell award

  • 2022 Faculty excellence in mentoring award

  • 2021 Iwatani award

  • OIST Kick-start Fund (2019-21)

  • JSPS grant, Kakenhi Early Career Scientist (2018)

  • FGS-Weizmann Institute of Science, Senior Post Doctoral Fellowship (2015)

  • Federation of European Biochemical Societies, FEBS Long Term Fellowship (2012-13)

  • European Molecular Biology Organization, EMBO Long Term Post Doctoral Fellowship (2012) (Declined)

Selected oral presentations

  • EMBO workshop, Enzymes, Biocatalysis and Chemical Biology: The new frontiers (Italy), Invited Speaker (2018)

  • EMBO Conference, Chemical Biology 2018 (Germany), Abstract selected for a talk (2018)

  • The Fifth International Conference on Cofactors and Active Enzyme Molecule (Japan), Invited Speaker (2016)

  • The Fourth International Conference on Cofactors (ICC-04, Italy), Abstract selected for a talk (2014)

  • Gordon Research Conference, Enzyme, Coenzyme and Metabolic Pathways (USA), Abstract selected for a talk (2014)

  • Federation of European Biochemical Societies, 38th FEBS Congress “Mechanism in Biology” (Russia), Abstract Selected for a talk (2013)

Selected publications

  • Gade, M. H.; Lynn Tan, L.; Damry, A. M.; Sandhu, M.; Brock, J. S.; Delanay, A.; Villar-Briones, A.; Jackson, C. J.*; Laurino, P.* Substrate dynamics contributes to enzymatic specificity in Human and bacterial methionine adenosyltransferases. JACS Au, 2021, 1, 12, 2349-2360.

  • Clifton, B. E.; Fariz, M. A.; Uechi, G.; Laurino, P.* Evolutionary repair reveals an unexpected role of the tRNA modification m1G37 in aminoacylation. Nucleic Acid Res. 2021, 49, 21, 12467-12485. 

  • Testa A.; Dindo, M.; Rebane, A.; Nasouri, B.; Style, R.; Golestanian, R.; Dufresne, E.;* Laurino, P.* Sustained Enzymatic activity and Flow in Crowded Protein Droplets Nat. Commun., 2021, 12, 6293.

  • Laurino P., Tawfik D.S. Spontaneous Emergence of S-Adenosylmethionine and the Evolution of Methylation. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2017, 56, 343-345. This article has been recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field.

  • Laurino P., Tóth-Petróczy Á., Meana-Pañeda R., Lin W., Truhlar D.G., Tawfik D.S. An Ancient Fingerprint Indicates the Common Ancestry of Rossmann-Fold Enzymes Utilizing Different Ribose-Based Cofactors. PLoS Biology 2016, 3, e1002396.