Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Hanawalt, Philip C.
Location Stanford University
Primary Field Genetics
Secondary Field Biophysics and Computational Biology
 Election Citation
Hanawalt has been an international leader in molecular biophysics ever since his discovery in 1963 of repair replication in E. coli and subsequently in eukaryote cells. He has continued to be a leader in the field of DNA repair ever since and most recently has found that DNA repair in mammalian cells is selective for the transcribed DNA strand.
 Research Interests
My current interest focuses upon mechanisms and genetic control of transcription-coupled DNA repair (TCR), and the search for gratuitous TCR that may cause genomic instability. We study behavior of RNA polymerases encountering lesions, guanine-rich DNA sequences and non-canonical DNA structures to learn the precise signals that initiate TCR to overcome transcription blockage. We also study the hereditary diseases, Cockayne syndrome (CS) and UV-sensitive syndrome; of which both are deficient in TCR and present no cancers, while CS patients, in particular, exhibit features of premature aging and defective processing of oxidative DNA damage. We have developed an ultrasensitive comet-FISH assay for quantifying 8-oxo-guanine and its repair in expressed genes. We are also developing an approach, utilizing the DNA mimic, peptide nucleic acid, targeted to unique expressed genes, to generate stable R-loops in order to render the very act of transcription ?toxic? for selected cells, such as those in a tumor.

 
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