Paula Schlax

Biophysical Chemistry

Schlax, Paula J.

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry and Biochemistry 207-786-6290Dana Chemistry Hall, Room 220

Paula Schlax

Except for a very brief time when I wrote really horrible musicals that incorporated disco hits or gave speeding tickets to my grandfather, I wanted to be a scientist or an engineer.  I attended Clarkson University where I earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, but more importantly, a love for scientific research through my time in Dr. Petr Zuman’s laboratory. I began teaching and studying molecular interactions that regulate gene expression at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I earned my Ph.D. in Chemistry. I learned that I wanted a career that valued both teaching and research as a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Bates was my first choice for a position because my best friend in my high school graduating class was an alum, and I respected the education my friend received and, well, I already had a Bates sweatshirt.

At Bates since 1998, I believe that Bates should live up to its mission, educating all students regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic background. I recognizes that STEM education has a history of erecting barriers that need to be removed to strengthen the future of STEM in this country.

I am fascinated by a fundamental question; How is regulation of gene expression as a response to external stimulus achieved? My laboratory is investigating translational regulation, RNA localization and RNA decay in spirochetes, including the organism that causes Lyme disease. I am particularly interested in the importance of the thermodynamics and kinetics of mRNA folding in in regulating RNA levels and translation.

Between working with interesting and talented students in my laboratory and in chemistry courses, and working with the HHMI core leadership team and my colleagues at Bates to transform Bates and to help students thrive, I enjoys spending time with my family, paddling in my hand built kayak, hiking, and photography.

Selected Publications:
J. Matsunaga, P.J. Schlax, D. Haake, 2013,  “A role for cis-acting RNA sequences in the temperature-dependent expression of the multiadhesive Lig proteins in Leptospira interrogans”  J. Bacteriol.  195:22 5092-5101.

  1. Archambault, J. S. Borchert*, J. Bergeron*, S. Snow*,  P.J. Schlax, 2013, “Measurements of mRNA Degradation inBorrelia burgdorferi” J. Bacteriol.  195:21 4879-4887.
  2. Archambault, J. Linscott*, N. Swerdlow*, K. Boyland*, E. Riley* and P.J. Schlax, 2013, “Translational Efficiency of rpoSmRNA from Borrelia burgdorferi: Effects of the Length and Sequence of the mRNA Leader Region” Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 433(1):73-8.
  3. I. KolevaC. A. Austin*J. M. Kowaleski*, D.S. Neems*, L.Wang*, C.P.H. Vary and P.J. Schlax, 2006, “Interactions of Ribosomal Protein S1 with DsrA and rpoS mRNA” Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 348:662-668.

P.J. Schlax and D. J. Worhunsky* “Translational Repression Mechanisms in Prokaryotes”, 2003, Mol. Microb, 48: 1157-1169.

  1. J. Worhunsky*, K. Godek*, S. Litsch*, & P.J. Schlax“Interactions of the Non-Coding RNA DsrA and rpoS mRNA with the 30S Ribosomal Subunit”, 2003, J. Biol. Chem., 278:15815-15824.

Professor Schlax’s CV