Julia Promisel Cooper, Ph.D.


The ends of eukaryotic linear chromosomes are potentially dangerous sites, as their resemblance to damage-induced DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) makes them vulnerable to degradation and end-joining pathways. If left unchecked at chromosome ends, these pathways cause chromosome shortening and rearrangement, which in turn provoke cancer. Telomeres protect chromosome ends from these dangerous events. We study the components of telomeres, the spectrum and mechanisms of telomere function, and the events that follow telomere loss. Our current research is focused on 1) Cell cycle-dependent control of telomere accessibility and telomerase 2) Challenges associated with stalled replication forks at telomeres 3) Ways to survive without telomeres and 4) Telomere function during meiosis.

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