Skip to main content

Natallia Makarava, BS

Academic Title:

Research Associate

Primary Appointment:



111 S. Penn St., Room 303

Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

1996 – B. S. in Biology from Saint Petersburg State University, Russia

1997 – 2001 – Research Assistant, Institute of Agricultural Crops, Federal Centre of Breeding Research on Cultivated Plants, Gross Luesewitz, Germany

2002 – 2004 – Medical Research Assistant, Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, USA

2004 – 2009 – Research Assistant, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Medical Biotechnology Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

2010 – 2018 – Laboratory Research Supervisor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Biomedical and Engineering and Technology, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

2018 – Present – Research Associate, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Biomedical and Engineering and Technology, Baltimore, Maryland, USA


I graduated from the Department of Genetics of Saint Petersburg State University, Russia, in 1996 and worked four years as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Agricultural Crops, Gross Luesewitz, Germany, developing genetic markers of self-incompatibility loci in rye. After moving to USA, I continued to expand my molecular biology skills as a Medical Research Assistant at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, exploring the role of AP-1 transcription factors in cancer. In 2004, I joined Dr. Baskakov lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and since then focused on the study of molecular features of prions. I was fortunate to lead a project that resulted in a creation of synthetic mammalian prions in wild-type animals. This work contributed to the understanding of the etiology of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), and became a basis for a subsequent research of molecular and structural requirements essential for the prion protein to acquire its infectious conformation. Over the years I worked on a variety of projects important for the understanding of TSE’s biology, such as biochemical characterization of different strains; establishing protein misfolding cyclic amplification of prions in vitro, detection of infectivity and estimation of infectivity titre; structural evolution of prions upon propagation in vitro and in vivo; the role of prion protein conformation, post-translational modifications and cellular cofactors in the infectivity, toxicity and interspecies transmission of prions. Currently my research interests also include neuroinflammation in prion diseases. Using various approaches, from the immunohistochemistry of reactive gliosis to the transcriptome analysis by Nanostring, we study activation phenotypes of mictroglia and astrocytes in the course of the prion disease in different brain regions of wild-type mice. We are interested in finding out to which extent the neuroinflammation induced in non-transgenic mice by prions recapitulates the inflammation states of glia in humans with neurodegenerative diseases.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Prions, neurodegenerative diseases, neuroinflammation

Highlighted Publications

Makarava N, Kovacs GG, Bocharova O, Savtchenko R, Alexeeva I, Budka H, Rohwer RG, Baskakov IV. (2010) Recombinant prion protein induces a new transmissible prion disease in wild-type animals. Acta Neuropathol., 119(2): 177-87.

Makarava N, Kovacs GG, Savtchenko R, Alexeeva I, Budka H, Rohwer RG, Baskakov IV. (2011) Genesis of mammalian prions: from non-infectious amyloid fibrils to a transmissible prion disease. PLoS Pathog. 7(12):e1002419

Makarava N, Savtchenko R, Alexeeva I, Rohwer RG, Baskakov IV. (2012) Fast and ultrasensitive method for quantitating prion infectivity titre. Nature Commun., 3:741.

Srivastava S, Makarava N, Katorcha E, Savtchenko R, Brossmer R, Baskakov IV. (2015) Post-conversion sialylation of prions in lymphoid tissues. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 112(48):E6654-62.

Makarava N, Savtchenko R, Alexeeva I, Rohwer RG, Baskakov IV. (2016) New Molecular insight into mechanism of evolution of mammalian synthetic prions. Am J Pathol. 186(4):1006-14.