Dr. John A. Tainer
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Departments of Molecular and Cellular Oncology & Cancer Biology
DNA damage responses provide master keys to unlock oncogenic synthetic lethality and activate innate immunity for cancer biology and medicine going forward. Our research focuses on applying structural biochemistry and biophysics to molecular and cellular oncology and cancer biology for predictive molecular mechanisms and innovative strategies that target DNA damage responses in cancer. For these efforts we were awarded a National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator award for Mesocale And Nanoscale Technologies Integrated by Structures for DNA Repair Complexes (MANTIS-DRC) along with the CPRIT Multi-Investigator Award BRCA Answers from Cancer Interactome Structures (BACIS), which includes a research clinical trial for PARP inhibitor resistance (led by Dr. Banu Arun in Breast Medical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Genetics). By solving and building upon >350 macromolecular structures, our group is developing and applying methods for integrating X-ray (see sibyls.als.lbl.gov) and cryo-EM data to build quantitative and foundational knowledge resulting in publications and patents aimed at advanced patient care.
Rotation students are welcome to participate in ongoing projects that include opportunities to learn and apply biophysics, biochemistry, and structural biology with state-of-the-art facilities. With the sequences we obtained from the world's most extreme thermophilic organism, rotation students will be able to express, purify, and study otherwise challenging protein targets. These projects promise to unveil fundamental mechanisms for DNA damage responses along with oncogenic replication and transcription stress in cancer.