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Prerna Sharma, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Physiology
Department of Medical Education

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Scranton, PA 18509

Prerna Sharma, PhD

Assistant professor of biochemistry and physiology


Prerna Sharma, PhD, is an assistant professor of biochemistry and physiology at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. There, she conducts research on discovering biomolecules for targeted therapies and diagnostics in her lab. Her research interests include health equity and sex and gender-based medicine.

Dr. Sharma completed her postdoctoral fellowship in protein engineering from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University in Tempe. In 2015, she earned her PhD in protein biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology from Institute of Microbial Technology in Chandigarh, India.

Dr. Sharma was selected as a national scholar to conduct research at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, where she worked on enzyme engineering and process optimization. Her areas of research expertise are in antibody engineering, glycobiology, protein biochemistry and engineering.

She’s trained in both rational and directed evolution methods to modify the scaffolds of different proteins to assess their affinities and properties for improved function. Among her research interests are developing protein-based therapeutics, understanding the structure-function relationship of enzymes and proteins/membrane protein complexes involved in cellular metabolism.

Between 2021 and 2022, Dr. Sharma has acted as a mentor for 10 medical students in her lab through the Medical Honors Research Program, the Summer Research Internship Program and the Geisinger Commonwealth Biomedical Research Club. The work her students have done includes characterizing engineered single chain antibodies for improved manufacturability and novel lectins (glycan-binding proteins) for their anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-tumor properties. She’s also working with students to explore the areas of improvement in medical science curriculum to incorporate sex and gender-based medicine and health equity.

Recent publications

  • Kazan I.C., Sharma P., Rahman M.I., Bobkov A., Fromme R., Ghirlanda G., Ozkan S.B. Design of novel cyanovirin-N variants by modulation of binding dynamics through distal mutations. eLife, 2022, e67474 (Co-First Author)
  • Averill D., Waite G.N., Sharma P., Mamillapalli S., Carbe C. Core Concepts as a Framework to Assess the Progression of Student Learning in a UME Curriculum. FASEB J, 2022, Journal 36
  • KhanJ.M., Malik A, Khan M.A. Sharma P., Sen, P. Pre-micellar concentrations of sodium dodecylbenzene sulphonate induce amyloid-like fibril formation in myoglobin at pH 4.5 Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2020, 586,124240
  • Shah S, Agera R, Sharma P, Sunder A V , Singh H, James H M, Gaikaiwari R P, Wangikar P P., Development of biotransformation process for asymmetric reduction with novel anti-Prelog NADH-dependent alcohol dehydrogenases. Process Biochemistry, 2018, 70: 71-78 (Co-First author)
  • Sharma P, Guptasarma P. Endoglucanase activity at a second site in Pyrococcus furiosus triose phosphate isomerase- Promiscuity or Compensation for a metabolic handicap? FEBS OpenBio, 2017, (In press)  (doi: 10.1002/2211-5463.12249)
  • Sharma P, Kaila P, Guptasarma P., Creation of active TIM barrel enzymes through genetic fusion of half-barrel domain constructs derived from two distantly-related glycosyl hydrolases. FEBS Journal 2016, 283(23):4340-4356 (doi: 10.1111/febs.13927)
  • Khan J.M., Sharma P, Arora K., Kishor N., Kaila P., Guptasarma P., The Achilles’ Heel of “Ultrastable” Hyperthermophile Proteins: Submillimolar Concentrations of SDS Stimulate Rapid Conformational Change, Aggregation, and Amyloid Formation in Proteins Carrying Overall Positive Charge. Biochemistry 2016, 55 (28): 3920–3936
  • Sharma P, Guptasarma P. ‘Super-perfect’ enzymes: Structural stabilities and enzyme activity kinetics of recombinant triose phosphate isomerases from Pyrococcus furiosus and Thermococcus onnurineus produced through heterologous expression in Escherichia coli. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 2015 May 8;460(3):753-8. (doi://
  • Boradia V.M., Malhotra H., Thakkar J.S., Tillu V.A., Vuppala B., Patil P., Sheokand N., Sharma P., Chauhan A.S., Raje M. and Raje C.I. Mycobacterium tuberculosis acquires iron by cell surface sequestration and internalization of human holotransferrin. Nature Communications. 2014 Aug 28;5:4730.
  • Kumar S, Sharma P, Arora K, Raje M, Guptasarma P. Calcium Binding to Beta-2-Microglobulin at Physiological pH Drives the Occurrence of Conformational Changes Which Cause the Protein to Precipitate into Amorphous Forms That Subsequently Transform into Amyloid Aggregates. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 22;9(4):e95725.


MS (Hons) - Panjab University, India
PhD – Institute of Microbial Technology, India
Postdoctoral – Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Bombay, India
Postdoctoral – Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ