Dr. Smogorzewska, who received her Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in 2002 under the tutelage of Titia de Lange, head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, and her M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College in 2003, has devoted her career to examining pathways that prevent cancer development, specifically those that repair DNA and induce replicative senescence, a process by which cells terminally arrest growth.
“In the case of Fanconi anemia, patients are very susceptible to a very specific DNA damage that is created by cross-linking agents such as cisplatin,” says Dr. Smogorzewska. “I am interested in understanding how the DNA repair pathway in patients with Fanconi anemia works, the function of the proteins in that pathway and their contribution to cancer prevention.”
Dr. Smogorzewska honed her interest in molecular biology and biochemistry as an undergrad at the University of Southern California, where she also received a summer research scholarship in biological research sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a science and engineering research scholarship sponsored by the United States Department of Energy. After receiving her Ph.D and M.D. she did a clinical pathology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and then joined the genetics department at Harvard Medical School, where she has been a postdoc since 2005 in the laboratory of Stephen Elledge.
As a postdoc, Dr. Smogorzewska identified and characterized FANCI, a gene that is mutated in a subset of Fanconi anemia patients. Dr. Smogorzewska’s research further revealed that this gene affects the repair of DNA. Without the proper protein, DNA isn’t repaired and the outcome is full-blown Fanconi anemia, a genetic disorder characterized by bone marrow failure, skeletal anomalies and increased incidence of tumors. Dr. Smogorzewska also completed two whole-genome genetic screens using RNA interference in human cells, one that yielded a list of proteins necessary for survival after DNA cross-link damage and a second that resulted in a list of proteins important for induction of replicative senescence. Both screens identified many novel components of these critical cellular processes.
At Rockefeller, Dr. Smogorzewska will focus her research on understanding how several of these proteins regulate the activity of the Fanconi anemia pathway and other pathways necessary for DNA repair, and on identifying factors that promote survival in Fanconi anemia cells in the setting of DNA damage.
“When a cell is confronted with DNA damage, it can either try to repair the genome or, in the case of irreparable damage, trigger cell death or senescence,” says Dr. Smogorzewska. “My focus is on how the cell tries to repair itself in order to survive and on processes that are induced when the proper repair fails.”
“I am delighted that Agata will be joining the university’s faculty,” says Paul Nurse, the university’s president. “Her research will shed light on the complex processes by which cells detect and repair damaged DNA — processes that have important implications for understanding cancer — and has the potential to help patients with genetic disorders.”
Thania Benios | Newswise Science News
Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth
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Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells
01.03.2017 | Universität Basel
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
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