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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 4, 2021

Gene network for leukemia factor

Transcription factors — proteins that regulate gene expression — play critical roles in cell fate decisions and are frequent targets of mutation in a variety of human cancers.
January 27, 2021

A protein that can melt tumors discovered at Vanderbilt

For the second time, cancer researchers at Vanderbilt have discovered a protein that—when genetically manipulated to impede it from interacting with a gene responsible for cancer genesis—effectively melts tumors in days.
December 8, 2020

Cortez named interim chair of the Department of Biochemistry; York named Impossible Foods chief science officer

David Cortez, PhD, Richard N. Armstrong Professor of Innovation in Biochemistry and professor of biochemistry, has been named interim chair in the Department of Biochemistry beginning Jan. 1, 2021.