Dr. Gottesman has pioneered studies on post-transcriptional mechanisms of regulation in bacterial systems, with a focus on the role of energy-dependent proteolysis in regulation and the role of small non-coding RNAs in regulating translation and mRNA stability. One focus of her work has been on how these regulatory inputs affect the bacteria’s response to stress.
Her laboratory has been interested in novel mechanisms for gene regulation and how these mechanisms contribute to global control circuits in Escherichia coli (E. coli). For many years, the focus of the laboratory was energy-dependent proteolysis. In the past decade, much of the lab has shifted to studying small regulatory RNAs, although they continue to investigate the mechanisms for regulating energy-dependent proteolysis. Her group first encountered small RNAs when studying the regulation of synthesis of a substrate for the energy-dependent proteases, and continue to see significant overlap between mRNAs regulated by small RNAs and the products of these mRNAs that are regulated by proteolysis.
Dr. Gottesman received her Ph.D. from the Department of Microbiology at Harvard University and became a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH. She then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a research associate and returned to the NIH in 1976 as a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where she has remained. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999. She received the Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.