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Irina El Khoury

Dr. Irina El Khoury is a chemist with the Structural Biology team. She serves as a key researcher in several projects related to the synthesis, functional characterization, and structural biology of molecules in plant and environmental sciences using cell-free protein expression and cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) as major technologies. She currently provides computational and educational support for the Pacific Northwest Cryo-EM Center (PNCC) in Portland, Oregon. PNCC is funded by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund and operated jointly by Oregon Health & Science University and PNNL.

Research Interests

  • Cell-free protein expression
  • Cryo-EM
  • Structural biology
  • Microcrystal electron diffraction (MicroED


  • PhD in Photochemical Sciences, Bowling Green State University
  • MS in Engineering., St Petersburg State Institute of Technology
  • BS in Engineering, St Petersburg State Institute of Technology



Bhattarai, A., Z. Cheng, A. G. Joly, I. V. Novikova, J. E. Evans, Z. D. Schultz, M. R. Jones, and P. Z. El-Khoury. 2020. “Tip-Enhanced Raman Nanospectroscopy of Smooth Spherical Gold Nanoparticles.” Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 11 (5): 1795-1801.

O'Callahan, B. T., K. D. Park, I. V. Novikova, T. Jian, C. L. Chen, E. A. Muller, P. Z. El-Khoury, M. B. Raschke, and A. S. Lea. 2020. “In Liquid Infrared Scattering Scanning near-Field Optical Microscopy for Chemical and Biological Nanoimaging.” Nano Letters 20 (6): 4497-4504.


Bhattarai, A., I. V. Novikova, and P. Z. El-Khoury. 2019. “Tip-Enhanced Raman Nanographs of Plasmonic Silver Nanoparticles.” Journal of Physical Chemistry C.


Gallagher-Jones, M., C. Glynn, D. R. Boyer, M. W. Martynowycz, E. Hernandez, J. Miao, C. T. Zee, I. V. Novikova, L. Goldschmidt, H. T. McFarlane, G. F. Helguera, J. E. Evans, M. R. Sawaya, D. Cascio, D. S. Eisenberg, T. Gonen, and J. A. Rodriguez. 2018. “Sub-Ångström Cryo-EM Structure of a Prion Protofibril Reveals a Polar Clasp.” Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 25 (2): 131-134.

Novikova, I. V., N. Sharma, T. Moser, R. Sontag, Y. Liu, M. J. Collazo, D. Cascio, T. Shokuhfar, H. Hellmann, M. Knoblauch, and J. E. Evans. 2018. “Protein Structural Biology Using Cell-Free Platform from Wheat Germ.” Advanced Structural and Chemical Imaging 4 (1).

O'Callahan, B. T., K. T. Crampton, I. V. Novikova, T. Jian, C. L. Chen, J. E. Evans, M. B. Raschke, P. Z. El-Khoury, and A. S. Lea. 2018. “Imaging Nanoscale Heterogeneity in Ultrathin Biomimetic and Biological Crystals.” Journal of Physical Chemistry C.


Novikova, I. V., C. R. Smallwood, Y. Gong, D. Hu, L. Hendricks, J. E. Evans, A. Bhattarai, W. P. Hess, and P. Z. El-Khoury. 2017. “Multimodal Hyperspectral Optical Microscopy.” Chemical Physics 498-499: 25-32.  

Zhang, B., Y. S. Mao, S. D. Diermeier, I. V. Novikova, E. P. Nawrocki, T. A. Jones, Z. Lazar, C. S. Tung, W. Luo, S. R. Eddy, K. Y. Sanbonmatsu, and D. L. Spector. 2017. “Identification and Characterization of a Class of MALAT1-like Genomic Loci.” Cell Reports 19 (8): 1723-1738.  


El-Khoury, P. Z., P. Abellan, R. L. Chantry, Y. Gong, A. G. Joly, I. V. Novikova, J. E. Evans, E. Aprà, D. Hu, Q. M. Ramasse, and W. P. Hess. 2016. “The Information Content in Single-Molecule Raman Nanoscopy.” Advances in Physics: X 1 (1): 35-54.  

Hawkes, E. J., S. P. Hennelly, I. V. Novikova, J. A. Irwin, C. Dean, and K. Y. Sanbonmatsu. 2016. “COOLAIR Antisense RNAs Form Evolutionarily Conserved Elaborate Secondary Structures.” Cell Reports 16 (12): 3087-3096.  

Xue, Z., S. Hennelly, B. Doyle, A. A. Gulati, I. V. Novikova, K. Y. Sanbonmatsu, and L. A. Boyer. 2016. “A G-Rich Motif in the lncRNA Braveheart Interacts with a Zinc-Finger Transcription Factor to Specify the Cardiovascular Lineage.” Molecular Cell 64 (1): 37-50.


El-Khoury, P. Z., G. E. Johnson, I. V. Novikova, Y. Gong, A. G. Joly, J. E. Evans, M. Zamkov, J. Laskin, and W. P. Hess. 2015. “Enhanced Raman Scattering from Aromatic Dithiols Electrosprayed into Plasmonic Nanojunctions.” Faraday Discussions 184: 339-357.  


Hennelly, S. P., I. V. Novikova, and K. Y. Sanbonmatsu. 2013. “The Expression Platform and the Aptamer: Cooperativity between Mg2+ and Ligand in the SAM-I Riboswitch.” Nucleic Acids Research 41 (3): 1922-1935.  

Novikova, I. V., A. Dharap, S. P. Hennelly, and K. Y. Sanbonmatsu. 2013. “3s: Shotgun Secondary Structure Determination of Long Non-Coding RNAs.” Methods 63 (2): 170-177.  

Novikova, I. V., S. P. Hennelly, and K. Y. Sanbonmatsu. 2013. “Tackling Structures of Long Noncoding RNAs.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14 (12): 23672-23684.  

Novikova, I. V., S. P. Hennelly, C. S. Tung, and K. Y. Sanbonmatsu. 2013. “Rise of the RNA Machines: Exploring the Structure of Long Non-Coding RNAs.” Journal of Molecular Biology 425 (19): 3731-3746.


Novikova, I. V., S. P. Hennelly, and K. Y. Sanbonmatsu. 2012. “Structural Architecture of the Human Long Non-Coding RNA, Steroid Receptor RNA Activator.” Nucleic Acids Research 40 (11): 5034-5051.


Novikova, I. V., B. H. Hassan, M. G. Mirzoyan, and N. B. Leontis. 2011. “Engineering Cooperative tecto-RNA Complexes Having Programmable Stoichiometries.” Nucleic Acids Research 39 (7): 2903-2917.


Afonin, K. A., E. O. Danilov, I. V. Novikova, and N. B. Leontis. 2008. “TokenRNA: A New Type of Sequence-Specific, Label-Free Fluorescent Biosensor for Folded RNA Molecules.” ChemBioChem 9 (12): 1902-1905.