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Genome Maintenance Research Program

DNA damage and response is involved at all stages of the cancer lifecycle—from cancer onset to progression and response to therapies. The Genome Maintenance Research Program is a cohesive network of basic science researchers focused on understanding how DNA is damaged, repaired, packaged, expressed, and replicated. 

RESEARCH THEMES

Members of the Genome Maintenance Program have expertise across all of the major processes involved in the faithful maintenance and expression of the genetic material:

How environmental agents and the products of natural cellular metabolism cause mutations and lead to cancer

How errors in cell division can lead to genomic instability and cancer

How the appropriate “packaging” of DNA maintains genome integrity and gene expression

How DNA damage response pathways are activated and how they function to maintain genome integrity and suppress cancer

How DNA damage is repaired and how defects in these processes lead to cancer

How the control of gene expression is central to normal cellular homeostasis

Meet the Program Members

Co-led by David Cortez, Ph.D., and William Tansey, Ph.D., the Genome Maintenance program includes faculty members from over a dozen departments and centers across campus. Research interests of our members run the gamut—from control of DNA replication and mitosis to mechanisms of DNA damage, DNA damage response and repair, chromatin, epigenetics, and the regulation of gene activity. This vibrant group of researchers harbors expertise in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, genomics, model organisms, proteomics, and structural biology. Their specific research strengths, together with a common focus on the genome, creates a highly synergistic environment where both formal and informal collaborations thrive and bolster our research accomplishments and impact.


Featured Publications

Program News

February 14, 2019

The yin and yang of cell signaling

Changes in enzymes involved in lysophospholipid signaling can activate a pathway implicated in development of cancer, a recent study suggests.
February 4, 2019

Cell death pathway implicated in bone marrow failure

Vanderbilt researchers have linked a specific form of programmed cell death to myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of bone marrow failure.
January 18, 2019

DNA’s on/off switch

A recent study shows that a component of the DNA primase enzyme acts as a reversible on/off switch for DNA binding and represents a fundamentally new method of communication between DNA-processing enzymes.

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