Skip to main content

Liliya Yatsunyk

Department Overview

Welcome to the Yatsunyk Lab!

Our laboratory focuses on non-canonical DNA structures such as G-quadruplexes and, recently, i-motifs. Such sequences are found at telomeres and oncogene promoters among other regions. In addition we are interested in the non-canonical DNA structures adopted by the repetitive DNA sequences from Satellite 2 and 3 in the pericentromeres of human chromosomes as well as repetitive DNA prone to double strand breaks during replication stress. We want to determine the structural details of DNA and DNA-ligand complexes and understand the reasons behind structural diversity of DNA as well as what governs its interactions with ligands. Our efforts will yield coordinates needed for drug discovery platforms and will enable and inform rational design of new anticancer therapeutics. Our favorite techniques include X-ray crystallography, UV-vis, circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), NMR, gel electrophoresis, and synthetic work. Most of the research is done by Swarthmore undergraduate students. We have strong collaborations with researchers from UPenn, NIST, University of Louisville and from the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in France.

Lab News 2019

The lab welcomes two new students, Dana Beseiso '21 and Joanne Miao '22

Liliya is currently on sabbatical in Bordeaux at the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in the Mass-Spec laboratory of Valerie Gabelica (Jan - May 2019)

Lab News 2018

Congratulation to Navin Sabharwal '14, Jessica Chen '17 and June Lee '17 on their publication titled "Interactions between spermine-derivatized tentacle porphyrins and the human telomeric DNA G-quadruplex" in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.  Thank you to Navin for his hard work on assembling and writing this paper. This is an open access article

Congratulation to Deondre Jordan '19, Barrett Powell  '18, and Jessica Chen '17 on their publication titled "Genome-wide identification of structure-forming repeats as principal sites of fork collapse upon ATR inhibition" in Molecular Cell. This paper was three years in making and we all are super happy to see it published

Hyun Kyung attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Indianapolis, IN, from November 14 to 17 . She presented a poster titled "Exploring the Structures of Satellite 2 Centromeres"

Liliya is currently on sabbatical in Ljubljana at the Slovenian National NMR center in the laboratory of Janez Plavec (Sep 2018 - Jan 2019)

The lab says farewell to Samantha Nyovannie who is on her way to NYU graduate school and Barrett Powell, who is on his way to MIT graduate school.

Congratulations to Barrett Powell for receiving the 2018 Philadelphia Local Section - American Chemical Society Undergraduate Scholastic Achievement Award, which recognizes top-achieving chemistry or chemical engineering majors in each of the colleges or universities that are part of the Section

Ariana, Barrett, Liliya, Linda and Samantha attended the 11th Frontiers in Chemistry & Biology Interface Symposium hosted by University of Pennsylvania. Liliya presented a talk entitled "Structural studies of CAGAGG repeats from difficult-to-replicate regions of the mammalian genome", while the others presented posters. Linda received the 3rd Best Poster award

Congratulations to Linda for publication of her first author article: "Quadruplexes in ‘Dicty’: crystal structure of a four-quartet G-quadruplex formed by G-rich motif found in the Dictyostelium discoideum genome" in Nucleic Acids Research

Ariana, Linda and Liliya attended the 2018 American Chemical Society - Philadelphia Local Section, Younger Chemist Committee 13th Annual poster session hosted by Temple University, PA. Ariana and Linda presented posters, and Linda's poster entitled "Biophysical and structural studies of telomeric G-quadruplex DNA with a small molecule ligand as an anticancer strategy" received the 2nd Best Undergraduate Poster award

Deondre and Linda presented their research at the 2018 Intercollegiate Student Chemists Convention at Elizabethtown College, PA. Linda's talk entitled "Interaction of G-quadruplex DNA with NMM as an anticancer strategy" received the 2nd Best Biochemistry talk award

Congratulations to Deondre Jordan for receiving the 2018 Goldwater Honorable Mentions. The Goldwater Scholarship is a highly prestigious, merit-based award offered to undergraduates who are pursuing a career in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering

The lab held joint meetings with Dr. Dawn Carone and her lab from the Biology Department to discuss our research and biophysical characterization techniques, and how they can be applied to her research on satellite DNA misregulation

Our lab welcomes new members, Ariana Yett and Yanti Manurung 


Access our News Archives...



Enjoying beautiful weather and roses: Samantha Nyovanie, Ariana Yett '21, Hyun Kyung Lee '21, Deondre Jordan '19, Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk, Yanti Manurung '20,  Linda Lin '20

Enjoying beautiful weather and roses: Samantha Nyovanie, Ariana Yett '21, Hyun Kyung Lee '21, Deondre Jordan '19, Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk, Yanti Manurung '20,  Linda Lin '20

Summer 2018: Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk, Samantha Nyovanie, Arian Yett '21, Yanti Manurung '20, Hyun Kyung Lee '21, Linda Lin '20, Deondre Jordan '19

Summer 2018: Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk, Samantha Nyovanie, Ariana Yett '21, Yanti Manurung '20, Hyun Kyung Lee '21, Linda Lin '20, Deondre Jordan '19

Lab at t the 11th Frontiers in Chemistry & Biology Interface Symposium (University of Pennsylvania)

Spring 2018:  Linda Lin '20, Ariana Yett '21, Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk, Samantha Nyovanie, Barrett Powell '18 at the 11th Frontiers in Chemistry & Biology Interface Symposium (UPenn)

The lab at the Haverford URS 2017

Fall 2017:  Barrett Powell '18, Prof. Liliya Yatsunyk, Deondre Jordan '19, Samantha Nyovanie, Linda Lin '20 and Allan Gao '19, at the Haverford Undergraduate Research Symposium

Yatsunyk Lab Summer 2017

Summer 2017: Allan Gao '19, Barrett Powell '18, Prof. Liliya Yatsunyk, Deondre Jordan '19, and  Linda Lin '20 

Supriya Davis '16, Josh Turek-Herman '16, Prof. Liliya Yatsunyk, Joo Hyun Lee '17, Kara Bledsoe '16, and Jessica Chen ‘17

Summer 2012: Cole Harbeck '15, Vienna Tran ‘13, Steven Barrett 13, Michelle Ferreira '14, and Navin Sabharwal '14

Enjoying beautiful weather and roses: Samantha Nyovanie, Ariana Yett '21, Hyun Kyung Lee '21, Deondre Jordan '19, Dr. Liliya Yatsunyk, Yanti Manurung '20,  Linda Lin '20

Photo /
1 of 7