Richard H. Ebright

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Richard H. Ebright
Born (1959-06-11) June 11, 1959 (age 63)
Alma mater
Scientific career
FieldsBiology, Molecular Biology

Richard H. Ebright is an American molecular biologist. He is the Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University and Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Richard H. Ebright was born on June 11, 1959, to Jacqueline K. Ebright and Richard J. Ebright in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Ebright received an A.B. summa cum laude in biology from Harvard University in 1981 and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University in 1987.[1][2] He was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows from 1984 to 1987.[1]


Ebright was appointed as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Rutgers University and as a Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology in 1987.[1] He was co-appointed as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1997 to 2013.[1]

Ebright has performed research on protein-DNA interaction,[3][4][5] transcription initiation,[6][7][8][9][10][11][12] transcription activation,[13][14][15][16][17][18] transcription-translation coupling,[19] and antibacterial drug discovery.[20][21][22][23][24][25] Ebright's research results include the experimental demonstration that amino-acid-base contacts mediate DNA sequence recognition in protein–DNA interaction,[3] the determination of the three-dimensional structural organization of the transcription initiation complex;[6][7][10][11] the demonstration that transcription start-site selection and initial transcription involve a "DNA scrunching" mechanism;[8][9][12] the demonstration that transcription activation can proceed by a "recruitment" mechanism;[13][14][15][17][18] the demonstration that bacterial transcription-translation coupling involves direct physical bridging of RNA polymerase and a ribosome by NusA and NusG;[19] and the identification of novel antibacterial drug targets in bacterial RNA polymerase.[20][21][22][23][24][25]

In 1994, Ebright was awarded the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Schering-Plough Award for his research on transcription activation.[26] In 1995, he received the Academic Press Walter J. Johnson Prize.[27] In 2013, he received a National Institutes of Health MERIT Award.[28] He was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 1996,[29] the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004,[30] the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2011,[31] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.[32]

He has opposed the proliferation of laboratories working on biological weapons agents[33][34][35][36][37][38] and has supported the strengthening of biosafety and biosecurity measures to reduce risks of release of biological weapons.[39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51].

COVID-19 origins[edit]

Ebright has stated that the genome and properties of SARS-CoV-2 provide no basis to conclude the virus was engineered as a bioweapon,[52][53] but he also has stated that the possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident cannot be dismissed[54][55][56][57][58] and has called for a thorough investigation of the origin of the pandemic and for measures to reduce the risk of future pandemics.[59][60][61][62][63] Ebright has accused NIAID director Anthony Fauci, NIH director Francis Collins and deputy director Lawrence Tabak of "lying to the public", about their past and continuous denials of NIH funding having been utilized for banned gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.[64][65]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dr. Richard H. Ebright". Waksman Institute, Rutgers University. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Ebright, Richard H." Department of Chemistry, Rutgers University. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Ebright, R. H.; Cossart, P.; Gicquel-Sanzey, B.; Beckwith, J. (1984). "Mutations that alter the DNA sequence specificity of the catabolite gene activator protein of E. coli". Nature. 311 (5983): 232–235. Bibcode:1984Natur.311..232E. doi:10.1038/311232a0. PMID 6090927. S2CID 4261408.
  4. ^ Blatter, E.; Ebright, Y.; Ebright, R. H. (1992). "Identification of an amino acid-base contact in the GCN4-DNA complex by bromouracil-mediated photocrosslinking". Nature. 359 (6396): 650–2. Bibcode:1992Natur.359..650B. doi:10.1038/359650a0. PMID 1406998. S2CID 4262228.
  5. ^ Pendergrast, P. S.; Ebright, Y.; Ebright, R. H. (1994). "High-specificity DNA cleavage agent: design and application to kilobase and megabase DNA substrates". Science. 265 (5174): 959–62. Bibcode:1994Sci...265..959P. doi:10.1126/science.8052855. PMID 8052855.
  6. ^ a b Naryshkin, N.; Revyakin, A.; Kim, Y.; Mekler, V.; Ebright, R. H. (2000). "Structural organization of the RNA polymerase-promoter open complex". Cell. 101 (6): 601–611. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80872-7. PMID 10892647. S2CID 9834684.
  7. ^ a b Mekler, V.; Kortkhonjia, E.; Mukhopadhyay, J.; Knight, J.; Revyakin, A.; Kapanidis, A.; Niu, W.; Ebright, Y.; Levy, R.; Ebright, R. H. (2002). "Structural organization of bacterial RNA polymerase holoenzyme and the RNA polymerase-promoter open complex". Cell. 108 (5): 599–614. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(02)00667-0. PMID 11893332. S2CID 4938696.
  8. ^ a b Kapanidis, A. N.; Margeat, E.; Ho, S. O.; Kortkhonjia, E.; Weiss, S.; Ebright, R. H. (2006). "Initial transcription by RNA polymerase proceeds through a DNA-scrunching mechanism". Science. 314 (5802): 1144–1147. Bibcode:2006Sci...314.1144K. doi:10.1126/science.1131399. PMC 2754788. PMID 17110578.
  9. ^ a b Revyakin, A.; Liu, C.; Ebright, R. H.; Strick, T. (2006). "Abortive initiation and productive initiation by RNA polymerase involve DNA scrunching". Science. 314 (5802): 1139–1143. Bibcode:2006Sci...314.1139R. doi:10.1126/science.1131398. PMC 2754787. PMID 17110577.
  10. ^ a b Chakraborty, A.; Wang, D.; Ebright, Y.; Korlann, Y.; Kortkhonjia, E.; Kim, T.; Chowdhury, S.; Wigneshweraraj, S.; Irschik, H.; Jansen, R.; Nixon, B.T.; Knight, J.; Weiss, S.; Ebright, R. H. (2012). "Opening and closing of the bacterial RNA polymerase clamp". Science. 337 (6094): 591–595. Bibcode:2012Sci...337..591C. doi:10.1126/science.1218716. PMC 3626110. PMID 22859489.
  11. ^ a b Zhang, Y.; Feng, Y.; Chatterjee, S.; Tuske, S.; Ho, M. X.; Arnold, E.; Ebright, R. H. (2012). "Structural Basis of Transcription Initiation". Science. 338 (6110): 1076–80. Bibcode:2012Sci...338.1076Z. doi:10.1126/science.1227786. PMC 3593053. PMID 23086998.
  12. ^ a b Winkelman, J.; Vvedenskaya, I.; Zhang, Y.; Bird, J.; Taylor, D.; Gourse, R.; Ebright, R.; Nickels, B. (2016). "Multiplexed protein-DNA cross-linking: Scrunching in transcription start site selection". Science. 351 (6277): 1090–1093. Bibcode:2016Sci...351.1090W. doi:10.1126/science.aad6881. PMC 4797950. PMID 26941320.
  13. ^ a b Heyduk, T.; Lee, J.; Ebright, Y.; Blatter, E.; Zhou, Y.; Ebright, R. H. (1993). "CAP interacts with RNA polymerase in solution in the absence of promoter DNA". Nature. 364 (6437): 548–549. Bibcode:1993Natur.364..548H. doi:10.1038/364548a0. PMID 8393148. S2CID 4248533.
  14. ^ a b Zhou, Y.; Busby, S.; Ebright, R. H. (1993). "Identification of the functional subunit of a dimeric transcription activator protein by use of "oriented heterodimers". Cell. 73 (2): 375–379. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(93)90236-J. PMID 8477449. S2CID 45343114.
  15. ^ a b Chen, Y.; Ebright, Y.; Ebright, R. H. (1994). "Identification of the target of a transcription activator protein by protein-protein photocrosslinking". Science. 265 (5168): 90–92. Bibcode:1994Sci...265...90C. doi:10.1126/science.8016656. PMID 8016656.
  16. ^ Niu, W.; Kim, Y.; Tau, G.; Heyduk, T.; Ebright, R. H. (1996). "Transcription activation at Class II CAP-dependent promoters: two interactions between CAP and RNA polymerase". Cell. 87 (6): 1123–1134. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81806-1. PMC 4430116. PMID 8978616.
  17. ^ a b Benoff, B.; Yang, H.; Lawson, C. L.; Parkinson, G.; Liu, J.; Blatter, E.; Ebright, Y. W.; Berman, H. M.; Arnold, E.; Ebright, R. H. (2002). "Structural basis of transcription activation: the CAP-alphaCTD-DNA complex". Science. 297 (5586): 1562–1566. Bibcode:2002Sci...297.1562B. doi:10.1126/science.1076376. PMID 12202833. S2CID 17422837.
  18. ^ a b Feng, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Ebright, R. H. (2016). "Structural basis of transcription activation". Science. 352 (6291): 1330–1333. Bibcode:2016Sci...352.1330F. doi:10.1126/science.aaf4417. PMC 4905602. PMID 27284196.
  19. ^ a b Wang, C.; Molodtsov, V.; Firlar, E.; Kaelber, J.; Blaha, G.; Su, M. & Ebright, R. H. (2020). "Structural basis of transcription-translation coupling". Science. 369 (6509): 1359–1365. Bibcode:2020Sci...369.1359W. doi:10.1126/science.abb5317. PMC 7566311. PMID 32820061.
  20. ^ a b Mukhopadhyay, J.; Das, K.; Ismail, S.; Koppstein, D.; Jang, M.; Hudson, B.; Sarafianos, S.; Tuske, S.; Patel, J.; Jansen, R.; Irschik, H.; Arnold, E. & Ebright, R. H. (2008). "The RNA polymerase "switch region" is a target for inhibitors". Cell. 135 (2): 295–307. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2008.09.033. PMC 2580802. PMID 18957204.
  21. ^ a b Zhang, Y.; Degen, D.; Ho, M. X.; Sineva, E.; Ebright, K.; Ebright, Y. W.; Mekler, V.; Vahedian-Movahed, H.; Feng, Y.; Yin, R.; Tuske, S.; Irschik, H.; Jansen, R.; Maffioli, S.; Donadio, S.; Arnold, E.; Ebright, R. H. (2014). "GE23077 binds to the RNA polymerase 'i' and 'i+1' sites and prevents the binding of initiating nucleotides". eLife. 3: e02450. doi:10.7554/eLife.02450. PMC 3994528. PMID 24755292.
  22. ^ a b Degen, D.; Feng, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Ebright, K.; Ebright, Y.; Gigliotti, M.; Vahedian-Movahed, H.; Mandal, S.; Talaue, M.; Connell, N.; Arnold, E.; Fenical, W.; Ebright, R. (2014). "Transcription inhibition by the depsipeptide antibiotic salinamide A". eLife. 3: e02451. doi:10.7554/eLife.02451. PMC 4029172. PMID 24843001.
  23. ^ a b Lin, W.; Mandal, S.; Degen, D.; Liu, Y.; Ebright, Y. W.; Li. S.; Feng, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Mandal, S.; Jiang, Y.; Liu, S.; Gigliotti, M.; Talaue, M.; Connell, N.; Das, K.; Arnold, E. & Ebright, R. H. (2017). "Structural basis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transcription and transcription inhibition". Mol. Cell. 66 (2): 169–179. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2017.03.001. PMC 5438085. PMID 28392175.
  24. ^ a b Maffioli, S.; Zhang, Y.; Degen, D.; Carzaniga, T.; Del Gatto, G.; Serina, S.; Monciardini, P.; Mazzetti, C.; Guglierame, P.; Candiani, G.; Chiriac, A. I.; Facchetti, G.; Kaltofen, P.; Sahl, H.-G.; Dehò, G.; Donadio, S. & Ebright, R. H. (2017). "Antibacterial nucleoside-analog inhibitor of bacterial RNA polymerase". Cell. 169 (7): 1240–1248. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2017.05.042. PMC 5542026. PMID 28622509.
  25. ^ a b Lin, W.; Das, K.; Degen, D.; Mazumder, A.; Duchi, D.; Wang, D.; Ebright, Y.; Ebright, R.Y.; Sineva, E.; Gigliotti, M.; Srivastava, A.; Mandal, S.; Jiang, Y.; Liu, Y.; Yin, R.; Zhang, Z.; Eng, E.; Thomas, D.; Donadio, S.; Zhang, H.; Zhang, C.; Kapanidis, A. & Ebright, R. H. (2018). "Structural basis of transcription inhibition by fidaxomicin (lipiarmycin A3)". Mol. Cell. 70 (1): 60–71. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2018.02.026. PMC 6205224. PMID 29606590.
  26. ^ "ASBMB/Schering-Plough Research Institute Award". Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  27. ^ "The Walter J. Johnson Prize, 1995". Journal of Molecular Biology. 251 (3): 329. 1995. PMID 7650734.
  28. ^ "Gifts & Grants". Rutgers University Faculty and Staff Bulletin. June 12, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  29. ^ "American Academy of Microbiology Fellowship Directory". Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  30. ^ "AAAS Council Honors 308 Members for Their Contributions to Science" (Press release). AAAS. November 1, 2004. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  31. ^ "Congratulations, New IDSA Fellows!". IDSA News. July–August 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  32. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects 213 National and International Scholars, Artists, Philanthropists, and Business and Civic Leaders" (Press release). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  33. ^ Connell, N.; Ebright, R. H. (2002). "Bioweapon agents: more access means more risk". Nature. 415 (6870): 364. Bibcode:2002Natur.415..364E. doi:10.1038/415364b. PMID 11807521.
  34. ^ Miller, J. (February 10, 2004). "New Biolabs Stir a Debate Over Secrecy and Safety". The New York Times.
  35. ^ Shane, S. (January 24, 2005). "Exposure at Germ Lab Reignites a Public Health Debate". The New York Times.
  36. ^ Shane, S. (March 1, 2005). "U.S. Germ-Research Policy Is Protested by 758 Scientists". The New York Times.
  37. ^ Broad, W. (June 29, 2005). "In a Lonely Stand, a Scientist Takes On National Security Dogma". The New York Times.
  38. ^ Lipton, E.; Shane, S. (August 3, 2008). "As biodefense field grows, so may risks". The New York Times.
  39. ^ Ebright, R. H. (2012). "Mitigate the risks of release". Nature. 481 (7381): 257–259. doi:10.1038/481257a. PMC 7095491. PMID 22246325.
  40. ^ "Centers for Disease Control Anthrax Lab Incident". C-SPAN. July 16, 2014.
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  43. ^ McNeil, D. (January 25, 2012). "Scientist Plays Down Danger of Flu Strain". The New York Times.
  44. ^ Fausset, R.; McNeil, D. (July 13, 2014). "After Lapses, C.D.C. Admits a Lax Culture at Labs". The New York Times.
  45. ^ Grady, D. (July 16, 2014). "C.D.C. Director Admits to Pattern of Unsafe Practices". The New York Times.
  46. ^ Grady, D. (July 19, 2014). "Pathogen Mishaps Rise as Regulators Stay Clear". The New York Times.
  47. ^ McNeil, D. (September 24, 2014). "White House Issues New Regulations for Dangerous Biological Research". The New York Times.
  48. ^ McNeil, D. (October 17, 2014). "White House to Cut Funding for Risky Biological Study". The New York Times.
  49. ^ McNeil, D. (December 19, 2017). "A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted". The New York Times.
  50. ^ Grady, D.; McNeil, D. (December 24, 2017). "Ebola Sample Is Mishandled at C.D.C. Lab in Latest Error". The New York Times.
  51. ^ "Revisiting Gain of Function Research: What the Pandemic Taught Us and Where Do We Go From Here". C-SPAN. August 3, 2022.
  52. ^ Taylor, A. (January 29, 2020). "Experts debunk fringe theory linking China's coronavirus to weapons research". The Washington Post.
  53. ^ Firozi, P. (February 17, 2020). "Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus fringe theory that scientists have disputed". The Washington Post.
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  57. ^ Mazzetti, M.; Barnes, J.; Wong, E.; Goldman, A. (April 30, 2020). "Trump Officials Are Said to Press Spies to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs". The New York Times.
  58. ^ Warrick, J.; Nakashima, E.; Harris, S.; Fifield, A. (May 1, 2020). "Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release". The Washington Post.
  59. ^ Ignatius, D. (April 23, 2020). "The world will demand answers on covid-19 until China explains what happened". The Washington Post.
  60. ^ Shih, G. (February 10, 2021). "As WHO coronavirus mission leaves empty-handed, China claims propaganda win". The Washington Post.
  61. ^ Gorman, J. (March 4, 2021). "Some Scientists Question W.H.O. Inquiry Into the Coronavirus Pandemic's Origins". The New York Times.
  62. ^ Zimmer, C.; Gorman, J. (June 7, 2021). "Fight Over Covid's Origins Renews Debate on Risks of Lab Work". The New York Times.
  63. ^ Cheng, M.; Kang, D. (July 2, 2021). "Experts question if WHO should lead pandemic origins probe". The Washington Post.
  64. ^ Schemmel, Alec (October 21, 2021). "NIH letter appears to conflict with Fauci, Collins claims about Wuhan lab". Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  65. ^ "The repeated claim that Fauci lied to Congress about 'gain-of-function' research". Washington Post. Retrieved November 9, 2021.

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