Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions

We use a variety of structural tools to uncover how enzymes, and transcriptional and translational regulators interact with nucleic acids to affect cellular development and disease outcome. We study how such proteins find, bind, and move on their DNA or RNA sites, and, then use that knowledge to create enzymes with new specificities and obtain a molecular basis for gene regulation. We are also interested in learning how cells cope with the effects of DNA damage. In particular, how a set of specialized DNA polymerases can bypass DNA damage during replication and how mutations in them can lead to cancer in humans.