B.Sc., Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Ph.D., Clark UniversityOverview:
My research is in the field of biochemistry and cancer biology. I am primarily interested in understanding how DNA polymerases function within the context of DNA repair and cancer. My lab in particular will focus on protein purification, classic pre-steady state kinetics, and protein dynamics.Background:
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Normal cells are able to grow, replicate and die throughout a person’s lifetime. A major cause of cancer is mutagenesis and my research focuses on the mechanistic basis of this process. DNA is constantly damaged by sunlight, chemicals, and endogenous agents such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. There are many pathways for fixing damaged DNA and are necessary for maintaining the stability of the genome due to the high level of DNA damage that occurs.
The A-family polymerase, Pol Theta (θ or POLQ) is a DNA repair polymerase that is thought to be involved in several DNA repair pathways. POLQ gene expression has been shown to be upregulated in several cancers and we have identified Pol θ mutations from clinical melanoma samples. In my laboratory, we will purify wild-type and mutant Pol θ and perform biochemical assays to understand the basic function of the enzyme. This work will provide an understanding of the fundamental polymerization mechanism of Pol θ, as well as provide insight into the mechanism of cancer.
Polymerase kinetics, DNA repair, cancer, melanoma, protein purification, protein dynamics, fluorescence resonance energy transfer