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The Bhaskara Lab studies Epigenetics, DNA damage response, DNA repair, DNA replication and chromatin structure.

Histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) target histones and other non-histone proteins with important roles in cell survival and cell cycle progression. Changing the equilibrium between acetylation and deacetylation can adversely affect the normal functioning of cellular processes and cell cycle progression, and result in the development of various cancers. Several HDAC inhibitors are in clinical trials and two of these are FDA approved for the treatment of T-cell lymphoma. One goal of genetic studies of HDACs is to elucidate the function of individual enzymes and to define the actual therapeutic target(s) of HDAC inhibitors, which in turn might pave the way for the design of more specific inhibitors.

The Bhaskara lab research interest is to understand how histone deacetylases (Hdacs) control genome stability. The lab goal is to decipher the basic mode-of-action of specific Hdacs, which are targets of pan-Hdac inhibitors currently used in the clinic for cancer therapy. The lab's overall objective is to determine better and more effective Hdac inhibitors for use in cancer treatment. The lab uses conditional knockout mouse models and cutting-edge molecular biology, cell biology, biochemical techniques to understand the link between Hdacs and genome stability.

Projects in the lab:

Project  1: To investigate the mechanism by which HDACs (specifically HDAC1,2) control DNA damage response and DNA repair.

Project  2: Determine functions for HDACs (specifically HDAC1,2) during DNA replication in mammalian cells.

Project  3: Role for HDACs (specifically HDAC1,2) in modulating chromatin structure to maintain genome stability.

Project  4: Utilize the knowledge gained from Projects 1-3 towards designing better therapy for a subset of cancers.

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