Kyle Friend Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Kyle Friend

Science Addition A427
Curriculum Vitae

Professional Positions

Washington and Lee University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Associate Professor 2020-present
  • Assistant Professor 2014-2020
  • Visiting Assistant Professor 2013-2014

Professional Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society 2014-present
  • The RNA Society 2002-present


University of Wisconsin - Madison 2008-13

  • Postdoctoral Fellow in Biochemistry

Yale University 2007-08

  • Postdoctoral Associate in Obstretrics and Gynecology

Yale University 2001-07

  • Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
  • Doctoral Candidate

National Institutes of Health 2000-01

  • Postbaccalaureate Researcher at N.I.A.I.D.

The Ohio State University 1996-2000

  • B.S. in Biochemistry


The Friend lab studies the connections between messenger RNA translation and cellular signaling. Using mouse embryonic stem cells, yeast, and computational models, we are investigating how mRNA translation is regulated in response to cellular fate and nutrition. Our research has shown that mRNA translation elongation is tightly coupled with mTORC signaling and mRNA decay, some of the first evidence connecting regulated translation elongation with cellular signaling events. Currently, we are focused on elucidating the mechanisms that connect translation elongation with these varied biological processes.


  • CHEM 150 - Genetic Engineering and Society
  • CHEM 341 - Biochemistry I
  • CHEM 342 - Biochemistry II
  • CHEM 343 - Biochemistry I Lab
  • CHEM 344 - Biochemistry II Lab

Selected Publications

Publications (Students indicated by *)

  • Durmaz, Y.T.*, Shatadal, A.*, and Friend, K. Geneticin reduces mRNA stability. 2022., PLoS One. 17(7):e0272058. PMID: 35901009.
  • Ayoub, N.A., Friend, K., Clarke, T., Baker, R., Correa-Garhwal, S., Crean, A.*, Dendev, E.*, Foster, D.*, Hoff, L.*, Kelly, S., Patterson, W.*, Hayashi, C., and Opell, B.D. Protein composition and associated material properties of cobweb spiders’ gumfoot glue droplets. 2021., Integr. Comp. Biol., icab086. PMID: 34003260.
  • An, E.* and Friend, K. mTORC1 enhances early phase ribosome processivity. 2020. Front. Mol. Biosci. 7: 117. PMID: 32656229.
  • Yoon, D.S., Alfhili, M.A., Friend, K., and Lee, M.H. MPK-1/ERK regulatory network controls the number of sperm by regulating timing of sperm-oocyte switch in C. elegans germline. 2017. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 491(4): 1077-82. PMID: 28782521.
  • Abebrese, E. L.*, Ali, S.H.*, Andrews, V.M.*, Arnold, Z.R.*, Armstrong, K.A.*, Burns, L.N.*, Crowder, H.R.*, Day Jr., R.T.*, Hsu, D.G.*, Jarrell, K.L.*, Lee, G.M.*, Luo, Y.*, Mugayo, D.A.*, Raza, Z.*, and Friend, K. Identification of human short introns. 2017. PLoS One. 12(5):e0175393. PMID: 28520720.
  • Friend, K., *Brooks, H.A., Propson, N.E., Thomson, J.A. and Kimble, J. 2015. Embryonic stem cell growth factors regulate eIF2α phosphorylation. PLoS One 10(9): e0139076. PMID: 26406898.
  • Friend, K., Brook, M., *Bezirci, F.B., Sheets, M.D., Gray, N.K. and Seli, E. 2012. Embryonic poly(A)-binding protein (ePAB) phosphorylation is required for Xenopus oocyte maturation. Biochem J. 445(1): 93-100. PMID: 22497250.
  • Campbell, Z.T., Menichelli, E., Friend, K., Wu, J., Kimble, J., Williamson, J.R. and Wickens, M. 2012. Identification of a conserved interface between PUF and CPEB proteins. J. Biol. Chem. 287(22): 18854-62. PMID: 22496444.
  • Friend, K., Campbell, Z.T., Cooke, A., Kroll-Conner, P., Wickens, M.P. and Kimble, J. 2012. A conserved PUF—Ago—eEF1A complex attenuates translation elongation. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 19(2): 176-83. PMID: 22231398. Comment in Pasquinelli, A. E. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 19(2): 133-4.
  • Friend, K., Kolev, N.G., Shu, M.D., and Steitz, J.A. 2008. Minor-class splicing occurs in the nucleus of the Xenopus oocyte. RNA 14(8): 1459-1462. PMID: 18567814.
  • Friend, K., *Lovejoy, A.F., and Steitz, J.A. 2007. U2 snRNP binds intronless histone pre-mRNAs to facilitate U7-snRNP-dependent 3' end formation. Mol. Cell 28(2): 240-252. PMID: 17964263. Comment in Marzluff, W.F. Mol. Cell 28(3): 353-354.
  • Fok, V., Friend, K., and Steitz, J.A. 2006. Epstein-Barr virus noncoding RNAs are confined to the nucleus, whereas their partner, the human La protein, undergoes nucleocytoplasmic shuttling. J. Cell. Biol. 173(3): 319-325. PMID: 16682524.
  • Cahill, N., Friend, K., Speckmann, W., Li, Z.H., Terns, R.M., Terns, M.P., Steitz, J.A. 2002. Site-specific cross-linking analyses reveal an asymmetric protein distribution for a box C/D snoRNP. EMBO J. 21(14): 3816-3828. PMID: 12110593.

Book Chapters

  • Kershner, A., Crittenden, S.L., Friend, K., Sorensen, E.B., Porter, D.F., and J. Kimble. 2013. Germline stem cells and their regulation in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. In Transcriptional and Translational Regulation of Stem Cells (eds. G. Hime & H. Abud, Springer).
  • Friend, K. and Seli, E. 2009. Molecular biology of the gamete. In Stem Cells in Human Reproduction, 2nd ed. (eds. C. Simon and A. Pellicer, Informa Healthcare Press).


1. An, E. and Friend, K. Investigating ribosome processivity. 2016 Rustbelt RNA Meeting. Cleveland, OH.

2. Walker, A. and Friend, K. Characterization of the RNA-binding motif of Phosphoglycerate Kinase 1 – a Moonlighting Function for a Metabolic Enzyme. 2016. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. San Diego, CA.

3. Abebrese, E. L., Ali, S.H., Andrews, V.M., Arnold, Z.R., Armstrong, K.A., Burns, L.N., Crowder, H.R., Day Jr., R.T., Hsu, D.G., Jarrell, K.L., Lee, G.M., Luo, Y., Mugayo, D.A., Raza, Z., and Friend, K. Identification of human short introns. 2015 Gordon Research Conference on Nucleic Acids. Biddeford, ME.

4. Friend, K., Brooks, H.A., Propson, N.E., Thomson, J.A. and Kimble, J. Embryonic stem cells control translation initiation to bypass mRNA upstream open reading frames. 2014 Annual Meeting of the RNA Society. Quebec City, Quebec.



Co-PI, National Science Foundation RUI, 2018-23.

  • For determining the molecular composition of diverse spider web glues and correlating protein composition with mechanical features of the glues.


Co-PI, Associated Colleges of the South, 2020-21.

  • For the further development of ChemTutor, an online chemistry and math tutorial system for students transitioning from high school to college.

PI, Associated Colleges of the South, 2019.

  • For the creation of ChemTutor, an online chemistry and math tutorial system for students transitioning from high school to college.

PI, Jeffress Memorial Trust, 2017-19.

  • For investigating how translation is controlled as mouse embryonic stem cells differentiate using a combination of high-throughput sequencing and cell biological assays.

Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Cancer Society, PF-10-127-01-DDC, 2010-13

  • Used a combination of in vitro biochemistry and biophysics to characterize a sequence-specific RNA-binding protein. Generated transgenic animals and worked with mammalian cell lines for in vivo functional analysis.