Contact Information


Tijana Jovanovic-Talisman received her B.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Belgrade, Serbia in 2000 and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University under the guidance of Professor Ann E. McDermott in 2005. She did postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University with Professor Brian T. Chait where she integrated approaches in biology, chemistry, physics, and nanotechnology to construct a functional nuclear pore complex mimic. Subsequently, she pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH in the lab of Dr. Lippincott-Schwartz and investigated the nanoscopic distribution of plasma membrane proteins using super-resolution microscopy. After two years as an assistant professor of Chemistry at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, she joined the department of Molecular Medicine at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope as an assistant professor in 2013.


My research brings together biology, chemistry and physics to provide a quantitative description of protein interactions. Pointillistic super-resolution imaging techniques can be used to elucidate nano-scale spatial organization of proteins and investigate biological processes that are critical to the progression of cancer and other human diseases. To advance drug discovery, we use Photoactivated Localization Microscopy with pair-correlation analysis (PC-PALM), a quantitative fluorescence imaging method with high spatial resolution and single-molecule sensitivity. This technique allows us to obtain information about a wide range of spatial scales from approximately 10 nm to 1 mm, along which many remodeling events take place. Our research interests lie in the advancement of quantitative nano-scale methods to study important biological mechanisms and in the development of novel therapeutic and imaging agents with these powerful techniques.
1. Pointillistic Microscopy: Investigation of Protein Signaling
Elucidation of protein organization in the plasma membrane will clarify the mechanisms of signaling networks that regulate cellular function and communication. Quantitative super-resolution microscopy techniques are used in our lab to investigate the distribution of plasma membrane receptors such as growth factor receptors and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the steady state and upon perturbation with various ligands. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are the focus of both basic research and translational medicine due to their exquisite specificity and high affinity. We have an ongoing collaboration with Professors Williams, Horne and Park at City of Hope to arm antibodies to detect disease, treat disease, and elucidate the basic biology of antigen signaling. Over the long-term we envision that advanced super-resolution microscopy methods such as PC-PALM can be used as a tool for quantitative, high-throughput screening of ligands and their receptors on the cell membrane to develop novel cancer therapeutics that are specific to the disease site.
Distribution of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein tagged with photoactivatable Green Fluorescent Protein (paGFP-GPI) on plasma membrane in fixed MDA-MB-468 cells. PALM images show exquisite details of protein distribution.

2. Nano-scale Investigation of the Nuclear Pore Complex machinery
Proteinaceous assemblies called nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) mediate transport of macromolecules across the nuclear envelope. NPCs are selective for the passage of certain molecules, yet provide high throughput in order to maintain proper cellular order and function. Individual nucleoporins have unique roles in regulation of nucleocytoplasmic transport, and their defects can often lead to various disease phenotypes including cancer. We aim to elucidate the mechanistic contributions of the specific nucleoporins during both normal cell function and carcinogenesis by utilizing and developing nano-biological assays and biophysical tools such as super-resolution microscopy. In addition, we are interested in exploring the effect of potential anticancer agents on the NPC machinery. Mechanisms that regulate nucleocytoplasmic transport of proteins may ultimately provide novel targets and opportunities for drug development.

Lab Members

  Tijana Jovanovic-Talisman, Ph.D. Lab Members
     Sunetra Biswas, Ph.D.
     Postdoctoral Fellow
     (626) 256-HOPE, Ext. 65598
     Eliedonna Cacao, Ph.D.
     Postdoctoral Fellow
     (626) 256-HOPE, Ext. 65598
     Ottavia Golfetto, Ph.D.
     Postdoctoral Fellow
     (626) 256-HOPE, Ext. 65598
     Raphael Jorand, Ph.D.
     Postdoctoral Fellow
     (626) 256-HOPE, Ext. 65598
     Steven Tobin
     Irell and Manella Graduate Student
     (626) 256-HOPE, Ext. 65598

Professional Experience

  • 2013-present    Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2012 – 2013      Associate Member, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI
  • 2011 – 2013      Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI


  • 2009-2011       Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award Fellow, NIH, Bethesda, MD
  • 2005 - 2009     Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY
  • 2005                 Columbia University    Ph.D.     Chemistry
  • 2004                 Columbia University    M.Phil.   Chemistry
  • 2001                 Columbia University    M.A.        Chemistry
  • 2000                 University of Belgrade, Serbia   B.S.    Physical Chemistry
  • 1999-2000      Special Project Associate, Mayo Clinic, Hematology Department, Rochester, MN


  • Tobin S., Cacao E., Hong D., Terenius L., Vukojevic V., Jovanovic-Talisman T. "Nanoscale Effects of Ethanol and Naltrexone on Protein Organization in the Plasma Membrane Studied by Photoactivated Localization Microscopy (PALM)" PLOS One, 2014, 9(2), e87225
  • Sengupta P., Jovanovic-Talisman T., Lippincott-Schwartz J. “Quantifying Spatial Organization in Point Localization Super-resolution Images Using Pair Correlation Analysis” Nat. Protocols, 2013, 8,345-354
  • Jovanovic-Talisman T., Vukojevic VB., "Super-resolution fluorescence imaging and correlation spectroscopy: Principles and examples of application" J. Ser. Chem. Soc., 2013, 78, 1671-1688
  • Cox S., Rosten E., Monypenny J., Jovanovic-Talisman T., Burnette D.T., Lippincott-Schwartz J., Jones G.E., Heintzmann R. “Bayesian localization microscopy reveals nanoscale podosome dynamics” Nat. Methods, 2011, 9, 195-200
  • Sengupta P*., Jovanovic-Talisman T.,* Skoko D., Renz M., Veatch S., Lippincott-Schwartz J. “Probing protein heterogeneity in the plasma membrane using PALM and pair correlation analysis” Nat. Methods, 2011, 8, 969-975, * Both authors contributed equally
  • Jovanovic-Talisman T., Zilman A., “Building a basic nanomachine” Nature Nanotechnology, 2011, 6, 397-398
  • Zilman A., Di Talia S., Jovanovic-Talisman T., Chait B.T., Rout M.P., Magnasco M.O. “Enhancement of transport selectivity through nano-channels by non-specific competition” PLoS Comput. Biol., 2010, 6, e100084
  • Jovanovic-Talisman T., Tetenbaum-Novatt J., McKenney A.S., Zilman A., Peters R., Rout M.P., Chait B.T. “Artificial nanopores that mimic the transport selectivity of the nuclear pore complex” Nature, 2009, 457, 1023-1027
  • Jovanovic T., Harris M., McDermott A. E. “Cytochrome P450 BM-3 in complex with its substrate: temperature dependent spin state equilibria in the oxidized and reduced states” Appl. Magn. Reson., 2007, 31, 411-429
  • Jovanovic T., Farid R., Friesner R. A., McDermott A. E. “Thermal equilibrium of high- and low-spin forms of cytochrome P450-BM3: repositioning of the substrate?” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2005, 127, 13548-13552
  • Jovanovic T., McDermott A. E. “Observation of ligand binding to cytochrome P450 BM-3 by means of solid state NMR spectroscopy” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2005, 127, 13816-13821
  • Jovanovic T., McDermott A. E. “Probing substrate binding to cytochrome P450 BM-3 using solid state NMR” Proceedings of the 14th Int.l Conference on Cytochromes P450, 2005, 25-28
  • Jovanovic T., Ascenso C., Hazlett K. R. O., Sikkink R., Krebs C., Litwiller R., Benson L. M., Moura I., Moura J. J. G., Radolf J. D., Huynh B. H., Naylor S., and Rusnak F. “Neelaredoxin, an iron-binding protein from the syphilis spirochete, Treponema pallidum, is a superoxide reductase” J. Biol. Chem., 2000, 275, 28439-28448


  • 2012-2013          Chair, American Chemical Society, Hawaii Section
  • 2009-present     Biophysical Society
  • 2009-present     US MENSA
  • 2008-present     American Society for Cell Biology
  • 2004-present     American Chemical Society


  • 2014                STOP Cancer Research Career Development Award
  • 2002                Jack Miller Award, excellence in teaching by a graduate student, Columbia University
  • 2001-2002     Columbia-Upjohn Fellowship, Columbia University
  • 2001                Serbian Chemical Society Special Award, outstanding achievements during undergraduate studies, Serbia
  • 2001                “Sestre Bulajic” Fund Award, best bachelor’s thesis in the field of physical chemistry in 2000, University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2000                “Pavle Savic” Award, most successful graduate in physical chemistry in 2000, Physicochemical Society of Serbia, Serbia
  • 1996                Republic of Serbia National Fellowship, Serbia
  • 1998                Republic of Serbia National Fellowship, Serbia
  • 1999                Republic of Serbia National Fellowship, Serbia