Shana Elbaum-Garfinkle, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Structural Biology Initiative
  • Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Shana Elbaum-Garfinkle, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary scientist, working at the interface of biology, physics, and engineering. She conducts research at the forefront of cell biology to reveal the fundamental principles underlying phase separation of biomolecules into liquid materials. Elbaum-Garfinkle’s research group leverages this new paradigm to identify novel therapeutic targets for treating neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and traumatic brain injury. Employing diverse expertise in protein biochemistry, material science engineering, and C. elegans​ genetics, the Elbaum-Garfinkle group tackles these problems with unprecedented resolution across length scales that span the molecular, material, and organismal levels.

Elbaum-Garfinkle received her Ph.D. from Yale University in molecular biophysics and biochemistry in 2012 after graduating from Hunter College’s Thomas Hunter Honors Program with a B.A. in physics. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, where she worked with Clifford Brangwynne. She was awarded the prestigious NIH K99/R00 career award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to jumpstart her independent research career

About the Elbaum-Garfinkle Lab

The Elbaum-Garfinkle Lab studies protein liquid phase separation and neurodegenerative aggregation using a combination of single molecule fluorescence, soft matter material science and C. elegans genetics.

Research Interests

Protein and RNA granules, intracellular liquid organelles, and protein assembly and aggregation, neurophysiology and degeneration.


P. Deshpande, E. Prentice, A. V. Ceballos, P. Casaccia, S. Elbaum-Garfinkle. Epigenetic Marks Uniquely Tune the Material Properties of HP1α Condensates. Biophysical Journal, 2024, S0006349524002820. DOI:

D. Sementa, D. Dave, R. Fisher, T. Wang, S. Elbaum-Garfinkle, R.V. Ulijn, Sequence-Tunable Phase Behavior and Intrinsic Fluorescence in Dynamically Interacting PeptidesAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2023in press.

Vidal Ceballos A., Díaz A. J. A., Preston J. M., Vairamon C., Shen C., Koder R. L., Elbaum-Garfinkle S. Liquid to solid transition of elastin condensates. PNAS 2022 119 (37) e2202240119

A. Jain, S. Kassem, R.S. Fisher, B. Wang, T.-D. Li, T. Wang, Y. He, S. Elbaum-Garfinkle, and R.V. Ulijn, Connected Peptide Modules Enable Controlled Co-Existence of Self-Assembled Fibers Inside Liquid Condensates, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2022, 144 (33), 15002–15007. DOI:

Fisher, R.S.*, Jimenez, R.M.*, Soto, E., Kalev, D., Elbaum-Garfinkle, S. An Apparent Core/Shell Architecture of PolyQ Aggregates in the Aging C. Elegans Neuron. Protein Science (accepted). 2021. DOI: 10.1002/pro.4105. *contributed equally

R.S Fisher, S. Elbaum-Garfinkle. Tunable multiphase dynamics of arginine and lysine liquid condensatesNat Commun, 2020, 11, 4628.

S. Elbaum-Garfinkle. Matter over mind: Liquid phase separation and neurodegeneration. J. Biol. Chem, 2019, In Press

A. Ceballos, C.J. McDonald, S. Elbaum-Garfinkle. Methods and Strategies to Quantify Liquid Phase Separation of Disordered Proteins. Methods in Enzymology, 2018, 611:31-50.