Petar Penev

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Building methods to study the origin of life


I am a Fulbright student coming from Bulgaria, currently studying for a PhD degree in Bioinformatics at Georgia Tech. Received my bachelor's degree from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" in molecular biology and my masters from GaTech. I have spent one year in the Netherlands following a masters degree in Molecular Life Sciences, however after receiving the opportunity to study in the US I putted the Dutch experience on hold.
I got interested in bioinformatics because I noticed a certain cycle of information between the wet lab and the dry lab, proving that it is important to know equally well both fields.


8. Penev P.I., McCann H.M., Meade C.D., Maddala A., Bernier C.R., Chivukula V.L., Ahmad M., Gulen B., Sharma A., Alvarez-Carreño C., Williams L.D., Petrov A.S. "ProteoVision: web server for advanced visualization of ribosomal proteins", NAR (2021)

7. Penev P.I., Fakhretaha-Aval S., Patel V. J., Cannone J.J., Gutell R.R., Petrov A.S., Williams L.D., Glass J. B. "Supersized ribosomal RNA expansion segments in Asgard archaea", GBE (2020)

6. Mascuch S.J., Fakhretaha-Aval S., Bowman J.C., Minh Thu H.Ma, Thomas G., Bommarius B., Ito C., Zhao L., Newnam G.P., Matange K.R., Thapa H.R., Barlow B., Donegan R.K., Nguyen N.A., Saccuzzo E.G., Obianyor C.T., Karunakaran S.C., Pollet P., Rothschild-Mancinelli B., Mestre-Fos S., Guth-Metzler R., Bryksin A.V., Petrov A.S., Hazell M., Ibberson C.B., Penev P.I., Mannino R.G., Lam W.A., Garcia A.J., Kubanek J., Agarwal V., Hud N.V., Glass J.B., Williams L.D., Lieberman R.L. "A blueprint for academic laboratories to produce SARS-CoV-2 quantitative RT-PCR test kits", JBC (2020)

5. Bowman J.C., Petrov A.S., Frenkel-Pinter M., Penev P.I., Williams L.D. "Root of the Tree: The Significance, Evolution, and Origins of the Ribosome", Chem. Rev. (2020)

4. Mestre-Fos S., Penev P.I., Richards J.C., Dean W.L., Gray R.D., Chaires J.B., Williams L.D. "Profusion of G-quadruplexes on both subunits of metazoan ribosomes", PLoS ONE (2019)

3. Mestre-Fos S., Penev P.I., Suttapitugsakul S., Hu M., Ito C., Petrov A.S., Wartell R.M., Wu R., Williams L.D. "G-Quadruplexes in Human Ribosomal RNA", J. Mol. Biol. (2019)

2. Kovacs, N.A., Penev, P.I., Venapally, A., Petrov, A.S., and Williams, L.D. "Circular Permutation Obscures Universality of a Ribosomal Protein", J. Mol. Evol. 581-592 (2018)

1. Bernier, C.R., Petrov, A.S., Kovacs, N.A., Penev, P.I., and Williams, L.D. "Translation: The Universal Structural Core of Life", Mol. Biol. Evol. 35, 2065–2076 (2018)


Currently I am working in professor Williams' lab on a project about the evolution of the ribosome. I am exploring the evolutionary pathways that rProteins took within the ribosome. We aim to simplify the otherwise extremely complex system of the Ribosome, to a less involved and possibly more ancient state. This will hopefully give us insights for the pre-LUCA organization of life.
During my masters I worked in professor Gaucher's lab on an experimental phylogenetics project. I compared the viability of different predictive phylogenetic methods in the structural background of proteins.
In the Netherlands I worked in professor Dolf Weijers' Plant Development biochemistry laboratory. We worked on new possible interactors of the Auxin Response Factor in Arabidopsis Thaliana.

Where you can find me:

315 Ferst Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332