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Liliya Yatsunyk

James H. Hammons Chair of Chemistry

Department Chair, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Chemistry & Biochemistry


  2. Phone: (610) 328-8558
  3. Science Center 286
Liliya Yatsunyk


Postdoctoral Fellowship, BMBCB, Northwestern University
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Arizona
Honors Diploma, Chemistry, Chernivtsi State University, Ukraine


I teach Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 56), an advanced seminar Topics in Bioinorganic Chemistry (Chem 106), and an advanced seminar on DNA Nanotechnology (Chem 112). In addition, I teach Advanced Integrated Experimental Chemistry (Chem 66), a General Chemistry Honors Course (Chem 10HN) as well as laboratories in General (Chem 10) and Biological (Chem 38) Chemistry.


My laboratory focuses on non-canonical DNA structures, G-quadruplexes, i-motifs, and tandem repeats. Such sequences are found at telomeres and oncogene promoters, among other regions. Small molecule ligands strongly affect fold and stability of non-canonical DNA and may act as therapeutics for cancer and other diseases. We strive to determine the structural details of DNA and DNA-ligand complexes and understand the reasons behind structural diversity of DNA. Our favorite techniques include X-ray crystallography, UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopies, circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), and gel electrophoresis. We closely collaborate with Biologists to address biologically relevant DNA-centered questions.

Recent Publications (Swarthmore undergraduates underlined)

  1. Beseiso, D.; Chen, E. V.; McCarthy, S. E.; Gallagher, E. P.; Miao, J.; and Yatsunyk, L. A. “The First Crystal Structures of Hybrid and Parallel Four-Tetrad Intramolecular G-Quadruplexes” Nucleic Acids Res. Resubmitted Jan 2022

  2. Li, K.; Yatsunyk, L. A.; Neidle, S. Water spines and networks in G-quadruplex structures Nucleic Acids Res. 2020, 49(11), 519-528

  3. Lin, L. Y.;  McCarthy, S.; Powell, B. M.; Manurung, Y.; Xiang I. M.; Dean, W. D.; Chaires, B.; Yatsunyk, L. A. Biophysical and X-ray structural studies of the (GGGTT)3GGG G-quadruplex in complex with N-methyl mesoporphyrin IX PLOS ONE, 2020, 15(11): e0241513.

  4. Johnson, F. B.; and Yatsunyk, L. A. G-quadruplexes in fibrotic scars may open new therapeutic avenues for wound healing FEBS Let., 2019, 594, 19-20.

  5. Yett, A.; Lin L. Y.; Beseiso, D.; Miao, J., and Yatsunyk, L. A. N-methyl mesoporphyrin IX as a highly selective light-up probe for G-quadruplex DNA. J. Porphyr. Phthalocya. Contribution to Women in Porphyrin Sciences Special Issue (* equal contributions of all authors), 2019, 23, 1195-1215.