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Genome Integrity Discussion Group February 2016

Genome Integrity Discussion Group February 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

The connection between cancer and genome integrity is widely appreciated. Importantly, the greater New York Metropolitan area is unparalleled in the concentration of world leading research on chromosome biology and function, as well as for research at the interface between chromosome integrity and the dynamics of malignancy.  The Genome Integrity Discussion Group capitalize on this concentration of excellence, providing a forum for interaction between basic- and clinically-oriented research groups working in these fields. These meetings not only facilitate synergy between labs, but also provide a context in which previously unappreciated complementarities can be revealed.

In that spirit, the talks will cover a broad range of areas, including, but not limited to the DNA damage response and cancer predisposition, DNA replication, transcription, chromatin modification, recombination, cell cycle control, telomeres, chromosome segregation, epigenetic states, as well as the emergence of new technologies relevant to research in genome integrity. Although a primary focus is upon basic mechanisms and processes, these areas are pertinent to cancer and myriad human disease states, and it is expected that this will be reflected in the substance of our discussions. At each of the meetings, two early career scientists (students or postdocs) are selected to present data.

Genome Integrity Discussion Group meetings are organized under the leadership of Lorraine Symington (Columbia University Medical Center), Scott Keeney (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), and Susan Smith (NYU Langone Medical Center).

Call for Student/Postdoc Presentation Abstracts: Deadline January 8th, 2016

Two abstracts will be selected for short talks by students and/or postdocs at this meeting. Please submit abstracts in CSHL format with file name: via email to Prof Lorraine Symington at by January 8th, 2016.

Registration Pricing

Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$0
Nonmember (Academia)$65
Nonmember (Corporate)$75
Nonmember (Non-profit)$65
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$30


* Presentation titles and times are subject to change.

Monday, February 1, 2016

1:30 PM

Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Caitlin McOmish, PhD, The New York Academy of Sciences
Lorraine Symington, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

1:40 PM

Holding Forks Under Stress
Alberto Ciccia, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

2:10 PM

Protecting the Genome by Homologous Recombination: Role of the BRCA2 Tumor Suppressor
Maria Jasin, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

2:40 PM

The Mre11 Interaction Domain of Nbs1 is Necessary and Sufficient for Mre11 Complex Functions
Jun Hyun Kim, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Petrini Lab)

2:55 PM

Coffee Break

3:25 PM

Telomere Replication Stress Induced by POT1 Inactivation is a Novel Tumor Promoting Mechanism
Alexandra Pinzaru, NYU School of Medicine (Sfeir lab)

3:40 PM

New Mechanisms of Polymerase Theta-Mediated Alternative End-Joining
Richard Pomerantz, PhD, Temple University

4:10 PM

Differential Regulation of the Anti-crossover and Replication Fork Regression Activities of Mph1 by Mte1
Patrick Sung, PhD, Yale University

4:40 PM

Closing Remarks
Lorraine Symington, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center

4:45 PM


5:30 PM



Scott Keeney, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Susan Smith, PhD

NYU Langone Medical Center

Lorraine Symington, PhD

Columbia University Medical Center

Sonya Dougal, PhD

The New York Academy of Sciences


Alberto Ciccia, PhD

Columbia University Medical Center

Alberto Ciccia is an assistant professor in the Department of Genetics and Development and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center. He obtained his PhD from the London Research Institute, where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen West, and subsequently conducted his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Elledge. He was the recipient of an EMBO long-term fellowship and has recently received awards from the Breast Cancer Alliance and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. His laboratory is interested in defining the molecular mechanisms that preserve replication fork integrity in response to DNA damage.

Maria Jasin, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Maria Jasin is biomedical researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), New York, in the Developmental Biology Program. Research in her laboratory focuses on DNA recombination and the relationship to the maintenance of genomic integrity and cancer, targeted genome modification, and meiosis. Discoveries from her laboratory include defining how chromosome double-strand breaks are repaired, accomplishing the first “gene editing” experiment, and determining a role for the breast cancer suppressors BRCA1 and BRCA2 in recombination. She obtained a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zürich and at Stanford University in the Department of Biochemistry. In addition to her MSK appointment, she also has an appointment in the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Jun Hyun Kim, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Currently, I am working as Research Associate in the Petrini laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (USA) and investigating a role of Mre11 complex in DNA damage response.  During my PhD study at Northwestern University (USA), I have focused on elucidating the function of evolutionarily conserved protein, Ecdysoneless that is essential for mammalian embryonic development and demonstrated it plays a role in cell cycle progression via Rb-E2F pathway.  Previously, including my Master’s program at Yonsei University (Korea), I have worked on telomere biology, where I have studied on telomere binding proteins, the development of telomerase inhibitors as cancer drug and the mechanism of telomerase regulation by ubiquitination pathway.

Alexandra Pinzaru

NYU School of Medicine

Alexandra completed her BSc in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany, in 2011.  The same year she started her PhD at the Sackler Institute – NYC Medical Center.  Alexandra joined the laboratory of Agnel Sfeir, PhD in 2012 to investigate how telomere dysfunction could potentially drive cancer.

Richard Pomerantz, PhD

Temple University

My passion for science stems from my fascination with nucleic-acid enzymes and how they function and contribute to important cellular processes such as DNA and RNA metabolism and cancer survival. I currently have 16 years of nucleic-acid biochemistry experience. As a graduate student, I received intense training in the biochemical mechanisms of nucleic-acid synthesis using RNA polymerase. As a postdoctoral associate at Rockefeller University, I obtained thorough experience in the biochemical mechanisms of chromosomal DNA replication and repair, and during this time I identified novel mechanisms of replication bypass of transcription complexes and homologous recombination.

My laboratory is interested in how human DNA repair factors function and contribute to genome integrity and instability in normal and cancer cells, respectively. A currently funded project focuses on mechanisms and regulation of translesion DNA polymerases. Another funded project aims to identify RAD52 inhibitors for targeting BRCA deficient cancers for killing, which is important for the development of personalized medicine. Lastly, we are also investigating alternative error-prone double-strand break repair pathways, such as microhomology-mediated end-joining, also known as alternative end-joining, which contributes to genome instability and promotes the survival of BRCA deficient cells.

Patrick Sung, PhD

Yale University

When I was a postdoctoral fellow with Louise and Satya Prakash at the University of Rochester, I identified the biochemical properties of several key factors that function in nucleotide excision repair. Since establishing my own laboratory in 1993 (then at the University of Texas), I have maintained a strong commitment toward understanding how yeast and human cells engage homologous recombination as tool in eliminating DNA breaks and crosslinks. I have played a leading role in teaching, advising, and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students here at Yale and formerly at the University of Texas. I have been actively involved in peer-reviewing, by serving on various NIH study sections, as a regular reviewer for the NSF, on the editorial board of various journals, as an Editor or Associate Editor of Molecular & Cellular Biology (from 2000-2008) and The Journal of Biological Chemistry (since 2014), and also as the Co-chair of the 2013 ASBMB Annual Meeting.


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The Genome Integrity Discussion Group is proudly supported by


Columbia University Medical Center

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

NYU Langone Medical Center

Rockefeller University

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