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DNA Replication and Repair

This research area focuses on the molecular mechanisms of DNA replication in microorganisms as well as the repair responses of mammalian cells following exposure to DNA damaging agents. Specific projects include mechanisms of rolling-circle replication of antibiotic resistance plasmids in bacteria, the role of protein kinases in DNA damage signal transduction, and relationship of DNA repair to cancer and aging.

Dr. Bernstein
Kara A. Bernstein
Assistant Professor
Dr. Vaughn Cooper
Vaughn S Cooper
Associate Professor
Dr. Khan
Saleem A. Khan
Dr. Lan
Li Lan
Assistant Professor
Dr. Nakajima
Satoshi Nakajima
Assistant Professor

Associated Labs

Bernstein Lab 

Repair of DNA damage is crucial to prevent accumulation of mutations that can cause human disease, such as cancer. Our lab studies how double-strand breaks in the DNA, one of the most lethal types of DNA lesions, are repaired. Learn more>

Cooper Lab

The primary goal of our laboratory is to understand how bacterial populations evolve and adapt to colonize hosts and cause disease. We are particularly focused on how bacterial populations form complex communities within biofilms and how cells perceive cues to attach or disperse. Learn more>

Khan Lab 

We are involved in three main areas of research. The first one deals with the role of microRNAs in human papillomavirus-associated cervical and oral cancers as well as role of miRNAs in aging. The second area deals with the cellular functions and mechanism of action of the PcrA helicase which is specifically found in Gram-positive bacteria. The third area of our interest deals with a molecular analysis of the role of the RepX protein in the replication and segregation of the anthrax toxin-encoding pXO1 plasmid in Bacillus anthracis. Learn more>

Levine Lab

To preserve the integrity of the genome, cells have developed various sophisticated mechanisms for repairing damaged DNA. The major DNA repair process that removes helixdistorting lesions from DNA, including UV-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and 6,4 PhotoProducts (6,4-PP) is the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. However, in eukaryotic cells, NER operates on chromatin-embedded DNA substrates and DNA folding with histone proteins into chromatin poses structural constraints likely to challenge detection and repair of DNA lesions. Only recently there has been an emphasis on the relationship of chromatin to NER. Learn more>

Associated Publications

Alteration of microRNA profiles in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck cell lines by human papillomavirus. Head & Neck. 33: 504-512. | View Abstract
Anand, S. P; and Khan, S. A. (2010) Plasmid segregation: birds of a feather try not to flock together. J Bacteriol. 192: 1171-1174. | View Abstract
Guerrero-Santoro, J; Levine, A. S; and Rapic-Otrin, V. (2011) Co-localization of DNA repair proteins with UV-induced DNA damage in locally irradiated cells. Methods Mol Biol. 682: 149-161. | View Abstract