Kaitlyn McGrath

MCB PhD Student

MCB Program Start



University of Arizona, 2015, MCB and BA in Psychology with a minor in Mandarin Chinese.

Research Advisor and Department

Dr. Betül Kaçar, MCB

Research Topic

Translation is an essential and foundational process in all domains of life. Translation, in all organisms, is mediated by a core network of translation machinery (TM). Although the TM is crucial for translation and much is known about its function and regulation, the origin of the TM and how it co-evolved to regulate translation remains a mystery. My research aims to understand the evolution of the TM, focusing primarily on the evolution of initiation, the first step and rate-limiting step in translation.


I love my fur (and not fur) babies! I also love spending time with my husband and our friends, talking about philosophy, playing board/card games, and watching movies.

Honors and Awards

2020 NASA’s Early Career Collaboration Award (https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/education/ecc/)



LinkedIn Profile Page



  • K. McGrath, M. Dergai, S. Agarwal, D. Chung, D.B. vanRossum, A. Shevade, S. Kuchin, S. Zaichick, J. Savas, D. Fasshauer, G. Caraveo “A Conformation Switch Driven by Phosphorylation Regulates Ykt6 Activity in Macroautophagy” bioRxiv. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.15.992727
  • S. Zaichick, K. McGrath and G. Caraveo “The Role of Ca2+ Signaling in Parkinson’s Disease” Disease Models and Mechanisms. 2017. doi:10.1242/dmm.028738
  • N. Eshleman, G. Liu, K. McGrath, R. Parker, and J. R. Buchan “Defects in THO/TREX-2 function cause accumulation of novel cytoplasmic mRNP granules that can be cleared by autophagy” RNA Journal. 2016. doi:10.1261/rna.057224.116