Elif Sarinay Cenik

  • Assistant Professor
  • Molecular Biosciences
Profile image of Elif  Sarinay Cenik

Contact Information


Elif Sarinay Cenik received her BS in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Bilkent University in Turkey, followed by her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School under the tutelage of Dr. Phillip D. Zamore. She then completed postdoctoral training with Nobelist Dr. Andrew Z. Fire in Genetics and Pathology at Stanford University.


Our lab is primarily interested in understanding the connections between the ribosomal DNA locus, ribosome biogenesis, and other cellular processes. We aim to elucidate how these elements coordinate to manage complex growth modes during metazoan organismal development. For our studies, we utilize the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism.

Research Areas

  • Molecular Biology or Genetics

Fields of Interest

  • Molecular Biology and Genetics



    1. Zhao, Q., Rangan, R., Weng, S., Ozdemir, C. & Cenik, E. S. Inhibition of ribosome biogenesis in the epidermis is sufficient to trigger organism-wide growth quiescence independently of nutritional status in C. elegans (2023). PLOS Biology, in press.
    2. Freeman, TF. Zhao, Q., Surya A, Rothe R, Cenik E. S. Ribosome biogenesis disruption mediated chromatin structure changes revealed by SRAtac, a customizable end to end analysis pipeline for ATAC-seq (2023). BMC Genomics, in press.
    3. Surya A & Sarinay-Cenik E. Cell autonomous and non-autonomous consequences of deviations in translation machinery on organism growth and the connecting signalling pathways. Open Biology (2022), April 27; 12: 210308
    4. Panici B, Nakajima H, Carlston CM, Ozadam H, Cenik C, Cenik ES. Loss of coordinated expression between ribosomal and mitochondrial genes revealed by comprehensive characterization of a large family with a rare Mendelian disorder. Genomics. (2021) Apr 20;113(4):1895-1905.  
    5. Rao, S., Hoskins, I., Tonn, T., Garcia, D., Ozadam, H., Cenik, E. S., & Cenik, C. (2021). Genes with 5’terminal oligopyrimidine tracts preferentially escape global suppression of translation by the SARS-CoV-2 NSP1 protein. RNA. 2021, 078661.120. 
    6. Byeon GW, Cenik ES, Jiang L, Tang H, Das R, Barna M. Functional and structural basis of extreme conservation in vertebrate 5' untranslated regions. Nature Genetics. (2021) Apr 5.
    7. Cenik ES, Meng X, Tang NH, Hall RN, Arribere JA, Cenik C, Jin Y, Fire A. Maternal Ribosomes Are Sufficient for Tissue Diversification during Embryonic Development in C. elegans. Developmental Cell. (2019), Mar 25;48(6):811-826.e6.  
    8. Arribere JA, Cenik ES, Jain N, Hess GT, Lee CH, Bassik MC, Fire AZ. Translation readthrough mitigation. Nature. (2016), Jun 30;534(7609):719-23. 
    9. Cenik C, Cenik ES, Byeon GW, Grubert F, Candille SI, Spacek D, Alsallakh B, Tilgner H, Araya CL, Tang H, Ricci E, Snyder MP. Integrative analysis of RNA, translation, and protein levels reveals distinct regulatory variation across humans. Genome Research. (2015), Nov;25(11):1610-21. 
    10. Cenik ES, Zamore PD. Argonaute proteins. Current Biology. (2011) Jun 21;21(12):R446-9. 
    11. Cenik ES, Fukunaga R, Lu G, Dutcher R, Wang Y, Tanaka Hall TM, Zamore PD. Phosphate and R2D2 restrict the substrate specificity of Dicer-2, an ATP-driven ribonuclease. Molecular Cell. (2011), Apr 22;42(2):172-84. 

    View Publications on PubMed


  • Welch Foundation Research Grant, 2023
  • UT Austin CNS Catalyst Award, joint with Jon Pierce, 2022
  • University of Texas, Austin, College of Nature Sciences, Faculty Service Award, 2021
  • Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA), National Institute of Health, NIGMS, 2021
  • Walter V. and Idun Berry Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, 2013-2016
  • Stanford School of Medicine Dean's Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012-2013
  • Turkish National Academy of Sciences Outstanding Achievement in Science Scholarship, 2003-2006