Fanconi anemia and
the cellular DNA damage response
Cancer cells are characterized by chromosome instability.
For example, cancer cells invariably exhibit structural
(e.g. chromosome rearrangements) and numerical (e.g. extra
copies of chromosomes) chromosome changes. These chromosome
changes arise as a consequence of a failure to appropriately
sense and repair damaged DNA. The primary focus of the
Howlett laboratory is the eukaryotic DNA damage response and
how defects in this process lead to cancer. More
specifically, we study the molecular origins of the rare
genetic cancer susceptibility syndrome Fanconi anemia (FA).
Over the course of the summer, students will use biochemical
and genetic approaches to study the regulation and function
of the FA proteins in the cellular DNA damage response.