Genetic recombination and DNA repair in eukaryotes
We are investigating the crucial role that homologous recombination plays in the repair and replication of DNA
Before a cell divides it has to replicate its genetic material so that each new daughter cell can receive a copy. Problems that arise during this vital process of DNA replication are instrumental in the development of many cancers and human genetic disorders. One common problem occurs when the protein machinery that drives DNA replication encounters a “roadblock” in the DNA (e.g. damaged DNA, a transcription complex, DNA binding protein, etc.). Blockage can cause the replication machinery to “collapse” and the DNA to break, threatening the successful completion of genome duplication. We are investigating the crucial role that homologous recombination plays in repairing damaged DNA and restarting blocked replication, and how mistakes and faults in these processes can lead to potentially devastating genetic mutations and genome rearrangements. Our aim is to provide a deeper understanding of these critically important processes to guide the development of new cancer therapies.