Emil Khisamutdinov
Emil Khisamutdinov
Associate Professor of Chemistry


Room:FB 309

About Me

Before joining Ball State in 2014, I spent two years at the University of Kentucky as a PostDoc in the lab of a well-known scientist in the RNA nanotechnology field, prof. Peixuan Guo. I am a big fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson and enjoy listening/watching PBS. 

My College Experience

I teach Biochemistry courses and run a BioNanoTechnology Research Laboratory (https://people.bsu.edu/kemil). My major is in bioorganic and biochemistry. I received Ph.D. degree from Bowling Green State University, where I studied DNA damage by photo-sensitive drugs and elucidated structure and thermodynamic stability of ribosomal RNA motifs. I obtained M.S. and B.S. in chemistry from the National University of Uzbekistan. 

What I have Learned?

To obtain a Ph.D. degree, it took me about 23 years of various forms of classes, starting from kindergarten. This journey was “bumpy” at times, but I always was driven and motivated by the existence of myriad and diverse scientific problems. Therefore, I decided to pursue my career in academia, where I could exploit the full potential of academic freedom to uncover questions related to nucleic acids (life’s indispensable molecules). Our lifespan is very short; it is vital to allocate a significant amount of time to the things we have passion for and love. 

Degree History

Postdoctoral Scholar, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (2014)
Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH (2012)
M.S., National University of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan (2007)
B.S., National University of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan (2005)

Related Link:


Research summary:

Our laboratory is focused on RNA nanotechnology and involves the design, construction, and application of RNA based nanoparticles. RNA nanotechnology is a vigorous, and rapidly emerging with strong potential for application in diverse fields from nanoelectronics to nanomedicine. RNA molecules not only encode genetic information, but they actively participate in various intracellular functions including gene expression regulation through sophisticated mechanisms; thereby expanding its traditional role as a genetic messenger and revealing it as a functionally versatile molecule. Small interfering and microRNAs (siRNAs and miRNAs, respectively), ribozymes, rib switches, ribosomal RNA, transport RNA (tRNA) are only a few examples of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) elements that play diverse roles in mediating gene expression. To achieve their functions, RNAs fold into a complex three dimensional (3D) architectures. Inspired by these natural 3D RNA elements, the development of artificial or reengineered RNA nanoparticles that will efficiently function in variety of intracellular processes as “smart” nanodevises is our main research interest.


Our research projects are highly interdisciplinary and combine chemistry, biology, physics and material science. Our ultimate goal is the development of new strategies for controlled self-assembly of functional RNA nanoparticles with implications in areas as diverse as nanoelectronics, biosensing, and nanomedicine. Our projects provide students with extensive training in RNA 3D design and with various biochemical techniques including DNA/RNA labeling, PCR, RNA synthesis (in vitro transcription), gel electrophoresis, protein over expression and isolation, Fluorescent and UV- Vis spectroscopy, UV-melting, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM).

Selected Publications:

  1. Ross Brummett, Leyla Danai-Noldner, Abigail Coffman, Yasmine Radwan, Megan Teter, Hannah Hayth, Erwin Doe, Katelynn Pranger, Alex Thornburgh, Allison Dittmer, Zhihai Li, Tae Jin Kim, Kirill Afonin, and Emil Khisamutdinov*.  Design and Characterization of Compact, Programmable, Multistranded Non-Immunostimulatory Nucleic Acid Nanoparticles Suitable for Biomedical Applications, ACS Biochemistry, 2024, 63(3):312-325(doi:10.1021/acs.biochem.3c00615).
  2. Jordan Hartung, Nathan McCann, Erwin Doe, Hannah Hayth, Kheiria Benkato, M. Brittany Johnson, Mathias Viard, Kirill Afonin*, and Emil F. Khisamutdinov*. Toehold-Mediated Shape Transition of Nucleic Acid Nanoparticles, ACS applied Materials and Interfaces, 2023, 15(21), 25300-25312. (doi: 10.1021/acsami.3c01604).
  3. Erwin Doe, Hannah Hayth, Ross Brummett, and Emil F. Khisamutdinov*. Effective, Rapid, and Small-scale Bioconjugation and Purification of “Clicked” Small Molecule-DNA oligonucleotides for Nucleic Acid Nanoparticles Functionalization, IJMS, 2023 24(5), 4797. (doi: 10.3390/ijms24054797).
  4. Emil F. Khisamutdinov*, Blake A. Sweeney, and Neocles B. Leontis. Context-sensitivity of Isosteric Substitutions of non-Watson-Crick Basepairs in Recurrent RNA 3D Motifs., Nucleic Acids Res, 2021 49(16), 9574-9593. (doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab703).
  5. Jake K. Durbin, Daniel K. Miller, Julia Niekamp, and Emil F. Khisamutdinov*. “Modulating Immune Response with Nucleic Acid Nanoparticles”. Molecules, 2019, 24(20), E3740 (doi: 10.3390/molecules24203740).
  6. Tori Goldsworthy, Geneva La’Force, Seth Abels, and Emil F. Khisamutdinov*. “Fluorogenic RNA Aptamers: a Nano-platform for Fabrication of Simple and Combinatorial Logic Gates”. Nanomaterials. 2018, 8(12), E984. (doi: 10.3390/nano812098)