Structural Biology of DNA Replication and Repair
DNA damage can be caused by exposure to environmental toxins and by cellular metabolites. This damage, or chemical modification of DNA bases, can cause errors in DNA replication and lead to stalled replication forks which can then lead to genomic instability, cell death, and even cancer. The lab uses the tools of biochemistry and structural biology, primarily X-ray crystallography, to study the mechanisms of proteins involved in various DNA damage response pathways. Current work is focused on DNA glycosylases involved in base excision repair of alkylated DNA, and on DNA translocases involved in stalled replication fork stabilization and regression. These studies will ultimately allow us to understand the fundamental processes and mechanisms of DNA repair and genome maintenance and to develop new therapeutic strategies to target genetic diseases.