U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Research Summary/In Plain Language

Research in Plain Language

Our research investigates the biological processes of DNA—the molecule that encodes the genetic blueprint for all living organisms.  Specifically, we study DNA recombination, in which chromosomes exchange genetic information and produce new combinations of genes.  Of particular interest is V(D)J recombination, which is essential for maturation of the immune system.  Our research also examines DNA repair, which maintains genomic integrity and prevents harmful mutations.  In addition, we study translesion DNA synthesis, a process that ensures completion of DNA replication in the presence of damaged DNA bases.  Our group uses X-ray crystallography, molecular biology, and various biochemical and biophysical approaches to find out the molecular mechanisms underlying these biological processes.