The DNA in each of our cells is continuously being damaged and repaired. For example, exposure to sunlight can damage DNA as can DNA replication, the normal process by which DNA is copied before cells divide. The damage is repaired by a number of different molecular pathways that work together to maintain what is known as genome integrity, so most of the time the damage is repaired and we are none the worse for wear. However, errors in the repair process can have serious consequences such as leading to diseases like cancer. Notably, while the DNA is packed into the cell’s nucleus, it isn’t just “thrown in there”- the DNA is organized in a way that can impact how it is repaired (and how it is read and copied, too).
My current research focuses on the spatial and temporal regulation of DNA repair, that is what happens with the broken ends, how do the necessary proteins get to the damage site, what happens once they get there, etc. I chose the name DynamicDNA for this website because the coordination of these activities is an active, dynamic process. Additionally I am very interested in how recombinant DNA technology and genetic engineering is perceived by society at large. So in that context, DynamicDNA refers to how organisms’ genomes change, particularly through the application of biotechnology.
This website highlights my past and current research and my teaching pursuits in the classroom and as a mentor in the lab. Please also take a look at the blog which is directed at non-biologists with the goal of explaining the science behind timely topics of general interest – for example genetically engineered crops and gene therapy – along with a straight forward explanation of some of the basic biology needed to fully understand these concepts (e.g. what is a gene). I can be contacted at <dan.strongin (at) dynamicdna (dot) org> and I also welcome suggestions for blog topics.