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Mount Chemistry Professor’s DNA Repair Research Published in the Journal Nature

Communications Staff

Mount St. Mary’s University Assistant Professor Patrick M. Lombardi, Ph.D., has been published by the journal Nature, the weekly, interdisciplinary journal of science.

lombardi-and-smith-research.jpgNature is a leading international journal, publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology on the basis of its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions.

Lombardi, who joined the Mount’s chemistry faculty in August 2017, is a coauthor of “A ubiquitin-dependent signaling axis specific for ALKBH-mediated DNA dealkylation repair,” a paper published in Nature on November 16 (551:271-398). The paper reveals that a signaling mechanism in human cells for sensing DNA damage induced by alkylation involves ubiquitin-dependent recruitment of a repair complex to the vicinity of the damage.

Lombardi conducted his research for this paper while doing postdoctoral work in the lab of Professor Cynthia Wolberger, Ph.D., in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which worked in collaboration with the team of Professor Nima Mosammaparast, MD, Ph.D., in the Department of Pathology and Immunology, Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.

This collaborative work is continuing with the addition of Mount St. Mary’s to the team exploring questions surrounding DNA dealkylation repair at the molecular level. Lombardi, who specializes in protein biochemistry, and Sean Smith, C’18, will produce proteins in the lab, allowing atom-by-atom study of the interaction between the signaling molecules and the repair complex.

“Understanding the signaling events that lead to recognition and repair of DNA alkylation damage is important for two reasons: Alkylation chemotherapy is one of the widely used systemic cancer treatments and environmental chemicals may trigger DNA alkylation,” Lombardi explained.

The Mount invested in the equipment necessary to produce proteins. Lombardi expressed his gratitude to Interim Provost Jennie Hunter-Cevera, Ph.D., School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Interim Dean Jennifer Staiger, Ph.D., and Science Department Chair Christine McCauslin, Ph.D., for their support in acquiring resources needed to participate in the study.

“The type of collaborative research Dr. Lombardi is involved in is critical as we create innovative research and training opportunities for our students and faculty,” Staiger said. “Our students are fortunate to work side-by-side at the bench with researchers such as Dr. Lombardi, Dr. Susan Mertins, Dr. Garth Patterson, Dr. Dana Ward and other faculty members. We are committed to ensuring that our students are prepared not only to enter practice careers but also to advance into research careers and doctoral-level studies.”

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