Phini Katsamba


Senior Experimental Scientist
Honig-Shapiro Lab

Phini Katsamba is a research scientist in the laboratories of Barry Honig and Lawrence Shapiro. In her research she applies her knowledge of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensors to characterize the heterophilic binding properties of adhesion molecules. In collaboration with crystallographers and bioinformatics experts, Phini’s goal is to understand the mechanisms that determine recognition and specificity between interacting molecules and how their behavior at the molecular level can explain their cellular behavior in adhesion as observed during morphogenesis and tissue remodeling. 

Prior to joining the Honig/Shapiro group, Phini was a postdoctoral scientist with David Myszka’s group at the University of Utah, where she employed the use of SPR biosensors in studies of macromolecular interactions. She obtained her PhD from the University of Southern California, where she studied the binding kinetics of RNA binding proteins with their RNA targets in the group of Ite Laird-Offringa

Education History

PhD, University of Southern California
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 

BSc, University of California San Diego
Chemistry and Biochemistry


* equal author contributions

Sergeeva AP, Katsamba PS, Liao J, Sampson JM, Bahna F, Mannepalli S, Morano NC, Shapiro L, Friesner RA, Honig B., Free Energy Perturbation Calculations of Mutation Effects on SARS-CoV-2 RBD::ACE2 Binding Affinity , J Mol Biol. 2023 435,16818.

Xu S, Sergeeva AP, Katsamba PS, Mannepalli S, Bahna F, Bimela J, Zipursky SL, Shapiro L, Honig B, Zinn K., Affinity requirements for control of synaptic targeting and neuronal cell survival by heterophilic IgSF cell adhesion molecules, Cell Rep. 2022 39, 110618.

Goodman KM, Katsamba PS, Rubinstein R, Ahlsén G, Bahna F, Mannepalli S, Dan H, Sampogna RV, Shapiro L, Honig B., How clustered protocadherin binding specificity is tuned for neuronal self-/nonself-recognition, eLife 2022 11:e72416.

Blockus H, Rolotti SV, Szoboszlay M, Peze-Heidsieck E, Ming T, Schroeder A, Apostolo N, Vennekens KM, Katsamba PS , Bahna F, Mannepalli S, Ahlsen G, Honig B, Shapiro L, de Wit J, Losonczy A, Polleux F., Synaptogenic activity of the axon guidance molecule Robo2 underlies hippocampal circuit function ,Cell Rep., 2021 37,109828.

Sergeeva AP, Katsamba PS , Cosmanescu F, Brewer JJ, Ahlsen G, Mannepalli S, Shapiro L, Honig B., DIP/Dpr interactions and the evolutionary design of specificity in protein families, Nat Commun., 2020 11, 2125-39.

Harrison OJ, Brasch J, Katsamba PS , Ahlsen G, Noble AJ, Dan H, Sampogna RV, Potter CS, Carragher B, Honig B, Shapiro L., Family-wide Structural and Biophysical Analysis of Binding Interactions among Non-clustered δ-Protocadherins, Family-wide Structural and Biophysical Analysis of Binding Interactions among Non-clustered δ-Protocadherins, Cell Rep., 2020 30, 2655-2671.

Cosmanescu F, Katsamba PS , Sergeeva AP, Ahlsen G, Patel SD, Brewer JJ, Tan L, Xu S, Xiao Q, Nagarkar-Jaiswal S, Nern A, Bellen HJ, Zipursky SL, Honig B, Shapiro L., Neuron-subtype-specific expression, interaction affinities, and specificity determinants of DIP/Dpr cell recognition proteins, Neuron, 2018 100, 1385-1400.

Xu S, Xiao Q, Cosmanescu F, Sergeeva AP, Yoo J, Lin Y, Katsamba PS , Ahlsen G, Kaufman J, Linaval NT, Lee PT, Bellen HJ, Shapiro L, Honig B, Tan L, Zipursky SL., Interactions between the Ig-Superfamily proteins DIP-α and Dpr6/10 regulate assembly of neural circuits, Neuron, 2018 100, 1369-1384.

Dionne G, Qiu X, Rapp M, Liang X, Zhao B, Peng G, Katsamba PS, Ahlsen G, Rubinstein R, Potter CS, Carragher B, Honig B, Müller U, Shapiro L., Mechanotransduction by PCDH15 relies on a novel cis-dimeric architecture ,Neuron, 2018 99, 480-492.

Brasch J, Katsamba PS , Harrison OJ, Ahlsén G, Troyanovsky RB, Indra I, Kaczynska A, Kaeser B, Troyanovsky S, Honig B, Shapiro L., Homophilic and heterophilic interactions of Type II cadherins identify specificity groups underlying cell-adhesive behavior, Cell Rep, 2018 23, 1840-1852.

Goodman KM, Yamagata M, Jin X, Mannepalli S, Katsamba PS, Ahlsén G, Sergeeva AP, Honig B, Sanes JR, Shapiro L. Molecular basis of sidekick-mediated cell-cell adhesion and specificity. Elife. 2016 Sep 19;5. pii: e19058.

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 ectodomain structures reveal a canonical adhesive interface. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2012 Sep;19(9):906-15.

Koehnke J*, Katsamba PS*, Ahlsen G, Bahna F, Vendome J, Honig B, Shapiro L, Jin X. Splice form dependence of β-neurexin/neuroligin binding interactions. Neuron. 2010 Jul 15;67(1):61-74.

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 mechanism. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Mar;17(3):339-47.

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.

Katsamba P*, Carroll K*, Ahlsen G, Bahna F, Vendome J, Posy S, Rajebhosale M, Price S, Jessell TM, Ben-Shaule A, Shapiro L. Honig BH. Linking molecular affinity and cellular specificity in cadherin-mediated adhesion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jul 14;106(28):11594-9.

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