Sarah Slavoff

Member of the Institute of Biomolecular Design and Discovery 
Member of Yale faculty since 2014

Research Interests


We are developing chemical and biological tools to study the “dark matter of the human genome” —previously undiscovered small open reading frames that encode microproteins — and their functions, including spatiotemportal regulation of RNA in human cells. Human small open reading frames may number in the thousands, and some have been linked to disease, but the vast majority remain entirely uncharacterized. We utilize a broad range of interdisciplinary methods, including mass spectrometry-based proteomics, cellular imaging, chemical synthesis, and small molecule-mediated control of biomolecular function.


B.S. University of Maryland, College Park, 2005
Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010
NIH Ruth L. Kirchstein Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2010-14


2016 Searle Scholar
2017 Leukemia Research Foundation Hollis Brownstein Research Grant
2019 Smith Family Foundation Odyssey Award
2019 Falk Medical Research Trust Catalyst Award

Recent Publications

For a complete listing, see

X. Cao, A. Khitun, Y. Luo, Z. Na, T. Phoodokmai, K. Sappakhaw, E. Olatunji, C. Uttamapinant, S. A. Slavoff. “Alt-RPL36 downregulates the PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling pathway by interacting with TMEM24.” Nature Communications, 2021, 12(508).

Y. Luo, J. A. Schofield, Z. Na, T. Hann, M. D. Simon, S. A. Slavoff. “Identification of human Dcp2 RNA decapping substrates with a stapled peptide inhibitor.” Cell Chemical Biology, 2021, 28(4):463-474.e7.

Z. Na, Y. Luo, J. A. Schofield, S. Smelyansky, A. Khitun, S. Muthukumar, E. Valkov, M. D. Simon, S. A. Slavoff. “The NBDY microprotein regulates cellular RNA decapping.” Biochemistry, 2020, 59(42):4131-4142.

R. Jackson, L. Kroehling, A, Khitun, W, Bailis, A. Jarret, A. York, O. Khan, J. R. Brewer, M. H. Skadow, C. Duizer, C. C. D. Harman, L. Chang, P. Bielecki, A. Solis, H. R. Steach, S. Slavoff, R. A. Flavell*. “Translation of non-canonical open reading frames controls mucosal immunity.” Nature, 2018, 564(7736):434-438.

N. D’Lima, J. Ma, L. Winkler, K. H. Loh, Q. Chu, E. Corpuz, J. Lykke-Andersen, A. Saghatelian, S. A. Slavoff. “A human short open reading frame-encoded polypeptide that interacts with the mRNA decapping complex.” Nature Chemical Biology, 2017, 13, 174–180.