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Carl C. Correll, PhD

Carl C. Correll, PhD
Associate Professor

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Discipline

Center for Proteomics and Molecular Therapeutics

Dr. Carl C. Correll received a PhD in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1992. From 1992 to 1997, he worked as a an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. He was an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago from 1998 to 2004.


Interaction between protein and RNA is central to cellular and viral processes ranging from expressing genes to directing cell mortality. These processes are highly dynamic in involving RNA-RNA and RNA-protein structural rearrangements. Yet it remains poorly understood how these processes are directed and regulated. Together with our collaborator Dr. Johnson (University of Texas, Austin), we identify and investigate the function of proteins that are essential for ribosome biogenesis—a vital cellular process that is emerging as an unexplored target for cancer treatment.

Current Research Projects In The Correll Lab

One project is to investigate the mechanism by which the DEAH helicase Dhr1 dislodges U3 from the pre-ribosome, a key step in ribosome biogenesis. We have a paper in press at PLOS Biology that identifies Dhr1 as the helicase that dislodges U3 from the pre-rRNA in vivo and we show in vitro that Dhr1 unwinds U3-pre-rRNA duplexes in a mechanism reminiscent of DEAD box proteins. 

A second project is to investigate the regulation of Dhr1 by Utp14 and the regulation of Imp3 and Imp4 by Mpp10. 

Lab Personnel

  • Carl Correll, PhD, Principal Investigator

Lab Alumni

  • Xin Liu, PhD. After graduating from the Correll lab he is now a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Karbstein’s Lab, Scripps Florida.
  • Jutta Beneken Heller, PhD. After her postdoc in the Correll Lab she is now a Senior lecturer at University of Washington Tacoma.
  • Timea Gerczei, PhD. After her postdoc in the Correll Lab, Timi is now an Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry Physics and Geology, Winthop University, North Carolina.
  • Matt Plantinga, PhD. After graduating from and a short postdoc in the Correll Lab, Matt is now an Adjunct Instructor at Technical College of the Lowcountry – TCL, South Carolina.
  • Binal Shah, PhD. Research Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago.
  • Muralidhar Tata, MS. Muralidhar works as a Molecular Biologist at Novus International in Lincoln, Nebraska.


For e-Print (PDF File) contact Carl Correll.

  • Correll C.C., Bartek J., Dundr M. (2019) The Nucleolus: A Multiphase Condensate Balancing Ribosome Synthesis and Translational Capacity in Health, Aging and Ribosomopathies. Cells 8 pii: E869. [PubMed]
  • Zhu, J., Liu, X., Anjos, M., Correll, C.C., Johnson, A.W. (2016) Utp14 recruits and activates the RNA helicase Dhr1 to undock U3 snoRNA from the pre-ribosome. Molecular and Cellular Biology 36, 965-978. [PubMed]
  • Sardana R., Liu, X., Granneman S., Zhu J., Gill, M., Papoulas, O., Marcotte, E.M., Tollervey, D., Correll, C.C., Johnson, A.W. (2015) The DEAH-box helicase Dhr1 Dissociates U3 from the pre-rRNA to promote formation of the Central Pseudoknot. PLoS Biology 13, e1002083. [PubMed]
  • Shah, B.N., Liu X., Correll C.C. (2013) Imp3 unfolds stem structures in pre-rRNA and U3 snoRNA to form a duplex essential for small subunit processing. RNA 19, 1372-1383. [PubMed]
  • Plantinga, M.J., Korennykh, A.V., Piccirilli, J.A., Correll, C.C. (2011) The ribotoxin restrictocin recognizes its RNA substrate by selective engagement of active site residues. Biochemistry 50, 3004-3013. [PubMed]
  • Gérczei, T., Shah, B.N., Anthony J. Manzo, A.J., Walter, N.G. and Correll, C.C. (2009) RNA chaperones stimulate formation and yield of the U3 snoRNA-pre-rRNA duplexes needed for ribosome biogenesis. Journal of Molecular Biology 390, 991-1006. [PubMed]
  • Plantinga, M.J., Korennykh, A.V., Piccirilli, J.A. and Correll, C.C. (2008) Electrostatic interactions guide the active site face of a structure-specific ribonuclease to its RNA substrate. Biochemistry 47, 8912-8918. [PubMed]
  • Korennykh AV, Plantinga MJ, Correll CC, Piccirilli JA. (2007) Abstract Linkage between Substrate Recognition and Catalysis during Cleavage of Sarcin/Ricin Loop RNA by Restrictocin. Biochemistry 46, 12744-12756. [PubMed]
  • Korennykh, A.V., Correll, C.C. and Piccirilli, J.A. (2007) Evidence for the importance of electrostatics in the function of two distinct families of ribosome inactivating toxins. RNA 13, 1391-1396. [PubMed]
  • Korennykh, A.V., Piccirilli, J.A. and Correll, C.C. (2006) The electrostatic character of the ribosomal surface enables extraordinarily rapid target location by ribotoxins. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 13, 436-443. [PubMed]
  • Gérczei, T. and Correll, C.C. (2004) Imp3p and Imp4p mediate formation of essential U3-pre-rRNA duplexes, possibly to recruit the small subunit processome to the pre-rRNA. PNAS 101, 15301-15306. [PubMed]
  • Correll, C.C., Beneken, J., Plantinga, M.J., Lubbers, M and Chan, Y-L (2003) The common and the distinctive features of the bulged-G motif based on a 1.04 Å resolution RNA structure. Nucleic Acids Research 31, 6806-6818.[PubMed]
  • Correll, C.C. and Swinger, K. (2003) Common and distinctive features of GNRA tetraloops based on a GUAA tetraloop structure at 1.4 Å resolution. RNA 9 355-363.[PubMed].


Chicago Medical School

  • Lectures on various topics in Scientific Foundations of Medicine MCMS510 and Infection Immunology Hematology MCMS505, including:
    • Gene expression, regulation and dysregulation (i.e. cancer)
    • Blood coagulation, blood groups, hemoglobin, hemoglobinopathies and iron metabolism
    • Population genetics
  • Course director of LGBTQI Healthcare, a sophomore elective

All of the above subjects are reviewed in CPR, a board review program.

School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

  • Basics of Structural Biology, molecular recognition and enzyme action in Molecular and Cell Biology II GIGP502
  • Fluorescence and Isothermal Calorimetry in Physical Biochemistry GBCH544
  • Phosphoryl transfer reactions catalyzed by enzymes and ribozymes in Enzyme Structure and Mechanism GBCH543
  • Gene expression, regulation and dysregulation (i.e. cancer) in Clinical Molecular Cell Biology HBMS503
  • Blood coagulation, blood groups, hemoglobin, hemoglobinopathies and iron metabolism in Medical Biochemistry HBMS504