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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

November 18, 2019

Understanding cell division

Vanderbilt researchers have uncovered another piece in the puzzle of how cells divide — a process that goes awry in cancer cells.
November 6, 2019

Rathmell receives 2019 Eugene P. Schonfeld Award

The Kidney Cancer Association is recognizing the research accomplishments and leadership achievements of W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, with its top honor, the Eugene P. Schonfeld Award.
October 21, 2019

Completing DNA synthesis

James Dewar and colleagues have identified a role for the enzyme topoisomerase II in reducing replication errors during the final stage of DNA synthesis.