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James Wachira, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology, Biology

Office: Dixon Research Center 110
Phone: (443) 885-3632


Ph.D. University College London, 1994
M.Sc. University of Nairobi, 1990
B.Sc. (Hons). University of Nairobi, 1986

Research Interests:

Cell signaling, RNA packaging, cell growth and proliferation, and gene expression. The laboratory is delineating the mechanisms of signaling through melanocortin receptors because of their important roles in diverse physiological processes. Secondly, the biophysical principles underlying RNA-protein interactions are being investigated with a view of gaining an insight into cellular RNA packaging pathways and the control of gene expression at the level of RNA.

Selected Publications (Total: 29, h-Index 12, citations: 406):

  • Yin H, Guo H-B, Weston DJ, Borland AM, Ranjan P, Abraham PE, Jawdy SS, Wachira J, Tuskan GA, Tschaplinski TJ. Diel rewiring and positive selection of ancient plant proteins enabled evolution of CAM photosynthesis in Agave. BMC genomics. BioMed Central; 2018;19(1):1–16.
  • Parson C, Smith V, Krauss C, Banerjee HN, Reilly C, Krause JA, Wachira JM,Giri D, Winstead A, Mandal SK. Anticancer Properties of Novel Rhenium Pentylcarbanato Compounds against MDA-MB-468(HTB-132) Triple Node Negative Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines. Br J Pharm Res. 2015 Feb 1;4(3):362-367. PubMed PMID:25419517.
  • Nyan DC, Anbazhagan R, Hughes-Darden CA, Wachira SJM. Endosomal colocalization of melanocortin-3 receptor and β-arrestins in CAD cells with altered modification of AKT/PKB. Neuropeptides. 2008 Jun;42(3):355–366. PMID: 18291523.
  • Wachira SJM, Guruswamy B, Uradu L, Hughes-Darden CA, Denaro FJ. Activation and Endocytic Internalization of Melanocortin 3 Receptor in Neuronal Cells. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2007;1096(1):271–286. PMID: 17405938.
  • Shai LJ, Abotsi EK, Tyobeka EM, Wachira JM. Partial involvement of c-jun protooncogene in growth enhancing and cytotoxic effects of lithium in vitro. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2003 Nov;49(7):1137–1143. PMID: 14682396.
  • Kgokong JL, Wachira JM. Cytotoxicity of novel trifluoromethylquinoline derivatives on human leukemia cells. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2001 Feb;12(4):369-76.PubMed PMID: 11231103.
  • Roy SK, Wachira SJ, Weihua X, Hu J, Kalvakolanu DV. CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-beta regulates interferon-induced transcription through a novel element. J Biol Chem. 2000 Apr 28;275(17):12626–12632. PMID: 10777554.
  • Wilson SA, Wachira SJ, Norman RA, Pearl LH, Drew RE. Transcription antitermination regulation of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa amidase operon. EMBO J. 1996 Nov 1;15(21):5907–5916. PMID: 8918468 PMCID: PMC452355.