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Title: Why Study Cancer by Studying Yeast Cells
Originating Office: IAS
Speaker: Haber, James
Issue Date: 5-Sep-2014
Event Date: 5-Sep-2014
Group/Series/Folder: Record Group 8.15 - Institute for Advanced Study
Series 3 - Audio-visual Materials
Location: 8.15:3 EF
Notes: IAS Distinguished Lecture.
Title from opening screen.
Abstract: The process of copying DNA every time our cells divide is exceptionally accurate, but in replicating 6,000,000,000 base pairs of the human genome mistakes do occur, including both mutations and the formation of chromosome breaks. These breaks must be repaired to maintain the integrity of our chromosomes. Cancer cells frequently lack the most accurate ways of repairing chromosome breaks or else they lack the surveillance mechanisms that signal cells to employ their repair mechanisms. The speaker's laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular events that take place during break repair, but his research group study them in a simple organism - the yeast cells that are used in baking and brewing - where the individual events can be documented with much greater detail than can be currently accomplished with mammalian cells. These 'in vivo biochemistry' approaches have revealed the specific roles of many proteins in repair - proteins that are evolutionarily conserved in humans. Their studies have also revealed an intimate connection between chromosome break repair and the appearance of the kinds of complex mutations that have recently been described in human tumors.
Prof James Haber received his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. After postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, he joined the faculty at Brandeis University, where he is currently Abraham and Etta Goodman Professor of Biology.
Prof Haber’s lab has pioneered the real-time monitoring of the repair of double-strand chromosome breaks in yeast cells by using Southern blots, PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation and has characterized many of the molecular steps in different mechanisms of double strand break repair by homologous recombination and nonhomologous end-joining. His lab also investigates the DNA damage response by which cells arrest mitosis when cells suffer a single chromosome break.
Prof Haber received prestigious awards including the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Genetics from the Genetics Society of America and the MERIT Award from the US National Institutes of Health. He is a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Duration: 79 min.
Appears in Series:8.15:3 - Audio-visual Materials
Videos for Public -- Distinguished Lectures