Katie Berry

  • Associate Professor of Biochemistry
  • on leave 2023-2024
Katie Berry, Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, has been awarded the coveted Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for her work in developing new techniques to study the processes of biochemistry and engage students in the research.

Katie Berry received her Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley, where she used biochemical and biophysical techniques to study the mechanism of action of a non-coding RNA that Hepatitis C virus uses to appropriate human ribosomes during infection. During her postdoctoral training, Berry learned tools of bacterial molecular genetics to ask questions about the mechanism of gene regulation, and the role non-coding RNAs play inside of living bacterial cells. At Mount Holyoke, Berry’s lab combines these interests and makes use of both in vitro and in vivo approaches.

RNA-protein interactions are critical for gene regulation and the adaptation to stress in all organisms. Berry’s research addresses the molecular mechanisms of how small (s)RNAs in bacteria collaborate with proteins such as Hfq to regulate messenger RNA translation and stability. Berry has recently developed an in vivo assay to harness the power of molecular genetics to discover and characterize RNA-protein interactions inside of E. coli cells. She has used this assay to learn more about how the E. coli RNA chaperone protein Hfq binds to its regulatory sRNAs. Students in her lab will be able to adapt this assay to new interactions to explore the diversity of how small RNAs interact with their protein collaborators across bacteria that cause human diseases, and quantitatively dissect these interactions using complementary biochemical tools.

Berry teaches in Biochemistry and introductory Chemistry.

Areas of Expertise

Biochemistry, RNA-protein interactions, gene regulation


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
  • B.A., Swarthmore College

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Recent Campus News

Two Mount Holyoke College students will spend the next year conducting advanced research as part of the Beckman Scholars Program. They will each conduct 15-month, one-on-one mentored research projects with College faculty.

In what has become a signature College tradition, four Mount Holyoke faculty members were honored for their scholarship and teaching at a March 2 ceremony.

For the first time in its history, Mount Holyoke College has been selected as a Beckman Scholars Program awardee by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The foundation chose the College after a rigorous application process.

Recent Grants

Katie Berry received a National Science Foundation (NSF) subaward from Oregon State University for the project “Discovery of novel functional RNA classes by computational integration of massively-parallel RBP binding and structure data.” The project is for five years.

Katie Berry received a collaborative Ideas Lab grant from The National Science Foundation (NSF) for the project: “RNA-encoded Molecular Memory (REMM).” The project is for three years.

Katie Berry received the Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation for her project: Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial RNA-Binding Proteins. The project is for five years.

Recent Publications

Stein EM, Wang S [MHC '23], Dailey K [MHC '22], Gravel CM [MHC '20], Wang S [MHC '22], Olejniczak M & Berry KE. (2023) Biochemical and genetic dissection of the RNA-binding surface of the FinO domain of Escherichia coli ProQ. RNA 29, 1772–1791. doi: 10.1261/rna.079697.123

Wang CD [MHC '19], Mansky R [MHC '20], LeBlanc H [MHC '20], Gravel CM [MHC '20], Berry KE. 2021. Optimization of a bacterial three-hybrid assay through in vivo titration of an RNA-DNA adapter-protein. RNA, 27, 513-526.

Stein, EM, Kwiatkowska, J, Basczok, MM, Gravel, CM [MHC '20], Berry, KE, & Olejniczak, M. 2020. Determinants of RNA recognition by the FinO domain of the Escherichia coli ProQ protein. Nucleic Acids Research, 48(13): 7502-19. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkaa497

Pandey, S. [MHC '19], Gravel, C.M. [MHC '20], Stockert, O.M. [MHC '21], Wang, C.D. [MHC '19], Hegner, C.L. [MHC '19], LeBlanc, H. [MHC '20] & Berry, K.E., Genetic identification of the functional surface for RNA binding by Escherichia coli ProQ. Nucleic Acids Research, gkaa144, DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkaa144. (March 14, 2020)

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