U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Alison Hickman

 Contact Info

Tel: 301-402-4377
Email: alisonh@helix.nih.gov

 Select Experience

  • Ph.D.Massachusetts Institute of Technology1990
  • B.Sc.McGill University1983

 Related Links


Alison B. Hickman, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist, Structural Biochemistry SectionLaboratory of Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Biology/Biochemistry
  • Structural Biology
Research Summary/In Plain Language

Research in Plain Language

Essentially all organisms harbor enzymes (proteins) that are able to move discrete segments of DNA from one genomic location to another. Their presence provides a way for organisms to respond to environmental changes, and they have been shown to be major drivers of genome evolution. Interestingly, one of these protein systems appears to have been used by higher organisms to shuffle pieces of DNA in order to generate antibodies. We would like to understand how these proteins work. Our main approach has been to use a method of determining 3-dimensional structure, known as x-ray crystallography, as a way to visualize these proteins as they interact with DNA.