Student project: DNA replication

DNA replication: In vitro single-molecule studies of eukaryotic replication

Human beings copy a light-year’s worth of DNA in their lifetimes. How this is mechanistically achieved remains under very active investigation.

What is the goal of our research?

The replication of genomic DNA is one of the core processes that takes place during cell cycle progression and proliferation. It is performed by the replisome, a multi-protein complex that incorporates nucleotides into the genome with high fidelity while advancing and opening the double-stranded DNA. In eukaryotic organisms like ourselves, we still know little about how the replisome’s proteins organize and interact in a dynamic manner to duplicate not only our genes, but also the compact chromatin environment in which they are embedded. 

What tools do we use?

Due to recent advances in replisome reconstitution, we now have the opportunity to investigate the mechanics of DNA replication in eukaryotes in vitro. We employ state-of-the-art protein purification, protein labeling, fluorescence microscopy, magnetic tweezers, and nanofluidics to characterize the real-time dynamics of the replisome. 

What is the significance to society of what we do?

DNA repair and cancer: We enhance fundamental knowledge of DNA replication, errors in which are linked to the development of cancer / Protein labeling: We develop new proteins that permit the imaging of DNA replication. / Advanced microscopy and data analysis: We develop new imaging modalities, analyses, and algorithms to understand biological processes. 

What will your specific project look like?

We are looking for student colleague(s) interested in quantitatively exploring eukaryotic 


Dr. Humberto Sánchez, biochemist/ biophysicist
Dr. Kaley Mc Cluskey, biophysicist 
Dr. Theo van Laar, molecular biologist