- Departments, Labs and Institutes
- Schlacher Laboratory
Areas of Research
- Cancer Biology Research
- Molecular Biology Research
- DNA Repair Research
- Mitochondria Research
DNA replication is a master key to cancer growth and therapy. We focus on molecular mechanisms of DNA replication fork stability that suppress familial inherited cancers and provide a unique window on what has gone awry and the underlying disease principles. We discovered and defined replication fork protection, a major genome stability pathway. We developed and apply new methods for single cell and single molecule analyses at replication forks. Our hypotheses and efforts foremost are informed by human biology and by active collaborations with clinicians (hereditary heme, breast cancer, ovarian cancer), and our work is complemented by collaborations with bioinformaticians and structural biologists. Overall, our research aims to provide foundational knowledge to inform advanced therapeutic strategies and develop functional biomarkers to predict disease cause and response.
Research in the Schlacher Lab centers on three major areas:
- Genome instability gene functions in mitochondria, which we found suppress inflammation. We examine how breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA) and Fanconi Anemia suppressors function at mitochondrial DNA replication forks to control the immune response and metabolism, and how patient mutations can derail such control.
- The molecular cause for Fanconi Anemia and hereditary heme malignancies for insights on cancer biology. We test patient samples and have established an exciting Fanconi Anemia mouse model recapitulating key features of the human disease to understand cause and effect.
- BRCA/p53 collaborations at the DNA replication fork. We identified unexpected roles for BRCA and p53 in replication stability. We are investigating how genome stability proteins function at the replication fork and how this determines therapy response and resistance.
Katharina Schlacher, Ph.D.
Department of Cancer Biology
1881 East Road 3SCRB5.3626
Houston, TX 77054
1515 Holcombe Blvd
Houston, TX 77030