Dr. Anjana Badrinarayanan
Maintenance of life requires the preservation of genomic integrity. Double-strand breaks (DSBs) are a particularly lethal form of DNA damage and incorrectly repaired or unrepaired DSBs can lead to mutations, loss of genetic information and even cell death. Cells in all domains of life are capable of faithful DSB repair via homologous recombination, which requires an unbroken, homologous copy of DNA as template for repair. Apart from recombination, eukaryotes and some bacteria also use an alternative end-joining pathway, which does not require a second copy of duplex DNA for repair. Although error-prone, this pathway avoids the lethality of a DSB, making it important. While extensive biochemical experiments have been useful in understanding the key events underlying DSB repair in vitro, how repair is facilitated in vivo remains poorly understood. Recent advances in molecular and cellular biology techniques have now opened the doors to studying mechanisms of repair and the regulation of this process in living cells. This is particularly important, as repair has to be coordinated with other cellular processes such as DNA replication and cell division as well as carried out under the constraint of chromosome structure.
The goal of my research group is to understand how DNA repair pathways are regulated to ensure the maintenance of genomic integrity.