Alison E.M. Adams, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Northern Arizona University
P.O. Box 5640
South San Francisco Street
City, State, Zip
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
(928) 523-0393
Research Field
Genetics; Cell Biology
Award Year


The overall goal of the work in my lab is to use yeast to study problems in cell biology and cancer. Previous work has focused on the use of genetics to understand cytoskeletal structure and function. More recently, we have started using yeast to understand how environmental exposure and genetic factors influence the risk of genomic instability in cancer. During cancer development, chromosomes undergo breakages that lead to rearrangements, which are often unstable and consequently result in further breakage and rearrangements. Such events lead to translocations, deletions, inversions etc, and may result in altered gene products and/or changes in gene expression. This, in turn, can affect growth control, and consequently lead to cancer. My lab is using yeast as a model organism to study genomic instability. In particular, this entails (i) using the extremely powerful genetics possible with this yeast system to identify genes that are normally required to stabilize the genome; (ii) determining whether uranium and arsenic, found in well-water on the Navajo Reservation, increase genomic instability in yeast; (iii) extending these observations to human cells by determining whether human orthologs of genes identified in yeast cause DNA rearrangements in human cells.