Julia Brasch

Julia Brasch


Senior Experimental Scientist
Honig-Shapiro Lab


(212) 851-5382

Julia  Brasch is a senior experimental scientist in the laboratory of Lawrence Shapiro and Barry Honig. Her research is focused on understanding the binding specificity patterns of closely related cell adhesion molecules of the cadherin superfamily, which mediate intercellular adhesion in vertebrate solid tissue formation and maintenance. This work uses structural and biophysical approaches to understand how molecular specificity underlies tissue segregation, architecture of organs, and neural positioning in the spinal cord.   Recently, she works with the Simon’s Electron microscopy center at the New York Structural Biology Consortium where she employs single particle cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-tomography for structure determination of large cadherin family members and the study molecular assembly mechanisms. Her PhD work which was performed as collaboration between the Leibniz University of Hannover (Germany) and the laboratory of Lawrence Shapiro at Columbia University. Julia investigated the properties and binding behavior of vascular endothelial cadherin, a member of the classical cadherin family, which is crucial for the formation of adherens junctions in the vertebrate vascular system. The work sparked her interest in the fascinating world of cell adhesion and signaling molecules

Education History

PhD (Dr. rer. nat.), Leibniz University 
Hanover, Germany

Diplom in Biochemistry, Leibniz University 
Hanover, Germany


Harrison OJ, Brasch J, Lasso G, Katsamba PS, Ahlsen G, Honig B, Shapiro L. Structural basis of adhesive binding by desmocollins and desmogleins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jun 28;113(26):7160-5.

Vendome J, Felsovalyi K, Song H, Yang Z, Jin X, Brasch J, Harrison OJ, Ahlsen G, Bahna F, Kaczynska A, Katsamba PS, Edmond D, Hubbell WL, Shapiro L, Honig B. Structural and energetic determinants of adhesive binding specificity in type I cadherins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Oct 7;111(40):E4175-84.

Harrison OJ, Vendome J, Brasch J, Jin X, Hong S, Katsamba PS, Ahlsen G, Troyanovsky RB, Troyanovsky SM, Honig B, Shapiro L. Nectin ectodomains structures reveal a canonical adhesive interface. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2012 Sep;19(9):906-15. 

Liu Q, Dahmane T, Zhang Z, Assur Z, Brasch J, Shapiro L, Mancia F, Hendrickson WA. Structures from anomalous diffraction of native biological macromolecules. Science. 2012 May 25;336(6084):1033-7.

Brasch J, Harrison OJ, Honig B, Shapiro L. Thinking outside the cell: how cadherins drive adhesion. Trends Cell Biol. 2012 Jun;22(6):299-310.

Brasch J, Harrison OJ, Ahlsen G, Liu Q, Shapiro L. Crystal structure of the ligand binding domain of netrin G2. J Mol Biol. 2011 Dec 16;414(5):723-34.

Brasch J, Harrison OJ, Ahlsen G, Carnally SM, Henderson RM, Honig B, Shapiro L. Structure and binding mechanism of vascular endothelial cadherin, a divergent classical cadherin. J Mol Biol. 2011 Apr 22;408(1):57-73.

Harrison OJ, Jin X, Hong S, Bahna F, Ahlsen G, Brasch J, Wu Y, Vendome J, Felsovalyi K, Hampton CM, Troyanovsky RB, Ben-Shaul A, Frank J, Troyanovsky SM, Shapiro L, Honig B. The extracellular architecture of adherens junctions revealed by crystal structures of type I cadherins. Structure. 2011 Feb 9;19(2):244-56.

Harrison OJ, Bahna F, Katsamba PS, Jin X, Brasch J, Vendome J, Ahlsen G, Carroll KJ, Price SR, Honig B, Shapiro L. Two-step adhesive binding by classical cadherins. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Mar;17(3):348-57. 

Ciatto C, Bahna F, Zampieri N, VanSteenhouse HC, Katsamba PS, Ahlsen G, Harrison OJ, Brasch J, Jin X, Posy S, Vendome J, Ranscht B, Jessell TM, Honig B, Shapiro L. T-cadherin structures reveal a novel adhesive binding merchanism. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Mar;17(3):339-47. 

Koehnke J, Jin X, Trbovic N, Katsamba PS, Brasch J, Ahlsen G, Scheiffele P, Honig B, Palmer AG 3rd, Shapiro L. Crystal structures of beta-neurexin 1 and beta-neurexin 2 ectodomains and dynamics of splice insertion sequence 4. Structure. 2008 Mar;16(3):410-21.


Lab Staff