Nancy Maizels' Lab
Our research focuses on the conserved pathways which — paradoxically — both modify and maintain genomic sequence and structure. B lymphocytes must alter DNA structure and sequence at the immunoglobulin loci to carry out an effective immune response. But most somatic cells must maintain genomic structure, and rapidly repair DNA lesions to prevent mutations and translocations that give rise to cancer and contribute to aging. Remarkably, the mechanisms that maintain genomic stability in most cell types alter genomic sequence and structure in activated B cells. The goal of our research is to understand these mechanisms in the broadest context.
Our research can be loosely classified into three interrelated areas: immunoglobulin gene diversification, dynamics of G-rich genomic regions, and mechanisms of DNA repair. Our work has immediate impact on our understanding of the immune response, cancer and aging. The ongoing projects in the lab span a wide range, reflecting this broad theme and the interests and expertise of the graduate student or postdoc driving each specific project.
We think of our research in terms of the scientific problem, not technical expertise or instrumentation or favorite model organisms. We choose the experimental approach to answer the problem. Everyone comes to the lab knowing they should be prepared to turn on a dime to use any technique that will provide the clearest answer to the question at hand. Graduate students and postdocs in the lab have — and develop while training — a very broad range of expertise, spanning biochemistry, genetics and cell biology and everything in between. We are lucky to have available to us excellent facilities and instrumentation for imaging molecules, chromosomes and cells; flow cytometry; biophysical analysis; construction of murine models; and more.
Seattle provides a tremendously exciting scientific environment. It is home to the University of Washington, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, the Institute for Systems Biology, the Benaroya Research Institute, and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute; and a great range of biotechnology. This means we have wonderful seminar programs, and lots of contact with colleagues from all over the world. It is also one of the most beautiful and interesting cities anywhere, offering a wonderful variety of outdoor and indoor activities in all seasons.
— Nancy Maizels