Researcher’s Profile

Stephen P. Goff, PhD


Goff has been interested in viruses and their interactions with the host throughout his career. Over the past three decades, the Goff laboratory at Columbia University has focused on the replication of the mammalian retroviruses, including the Moloney murine leukemia virus and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), aiming to define the functions of each of the viral gene products and to identify host proteins with which the viruses interact. His group studies all aspects of the viral life cycle. He has also made a major effort toward the characterization of the Abelson murine leukemia virus oncogene, its regulation, and its downstream signaling pathway. The laboratory makes use of the two-hybrid system, proteomic methods, and somatic cell genetics to identify host proteins that impact the viruses, including those that either restrict or enhance virus replication. The lab has identified and characterized a novel host protein, termed ZAP for zinc finger antiviral protein, that blocks gene expression of many viruses, including the murine leukemia viruses, Ebola, Sindbis, and HIV-1, by degrading viral mRNAs. Lab members have also characterized a protein complex responsible for the silencing of retroviral DNAs in embryonic stem (ES) cells, and identified a zinc finger protein, ZFP809, as an ES-cell specific recognition molecule that binds the proviral DNA and brings TRIM28 to locally modify chromatin.

Goff is strongly committed to the training of students and fellows and preparing them for careers in science. To date he has trained about thirty-five PhD students and a similar number of postdoctoral fellows. His alumni include heads of laboratories at universities in the US, UK, Australia, Chile, China, Taiwan, and Israel; department chairs; investigators at the NIH; and scientists at many biotech companies and large pharmaceutical firms.

Research Statement: 

Molecular Biology of retrovirus replication; tyrosine kinases and signal transduction pathways.

Lab Members: 
Josef Sabo, Postdoctoral Fellow
Yiping Zhu, Postdoctoral Fellow
Oya Cingoz, Postdoctoral Fellow
Michael Metzger, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sefef Onal Tinaztepe, Graduate Research Assistant
Marina Ermakova, Graduate Research Assistant
Marlene Arroyo, Graduate Research Assistant

Heme Oxygenase 2 Binds Myristate to Regulate Retrovirus Assembly and TLR4 Signaling.

Zhu Y, Luo S, Sabo Y, Wang C, Tong L, Goff SP.

Cell Host Microbe. 2017 Feb 8;21(2):220-230.

Differential control of retrovirus silencing in embryonic cells by proteasomal regulation of the ZFP809 retroviral repressor.

Wang C, Goff SP.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Feb 7;114(6):E922-E930.

Histones Are Rapidly Loaded onto Unintegrated Retroviral DNAs Soon after Nuclear Entry.

Wang GZ, Wang Y, Goff SP.

Cell Host Microbe. 2016 Dec 14;20(6):798-809.

Widespread transmission of independent cancer lineages within multiple bivalve species.

Metzger MJ, Villalba A, Carballal MJ, Iglesias D, Sherry J, Reinisch C, Muttray AF, Baldwin SA, Goff SP.

Nature. 2016 Jun 30;534(7609):705-9.


Upf1 senses 3'UTR length to potentiate mRNA decay.

Hogg JR, Goff SP.

Cell. 2010 Oct 29;143(3):379-89.