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Bunch Laboratory
Molecular Genetics

Research

Introduction

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Overall, my research has been focused on understanding eukaryotic transcriptional regulation. In particular, I am interested in studying transcription mechanisms including RNA polymerase II (Pol II) promoter proximal pausing and pause release during early transcriptional elongation as an important transcriptional checkpoint to regulate the gene expression of a large number of developmental and stimulus-inducible protein-coding and non-protein coding genes.

Recently we have identified a novel mechanism involving TRIM28, DNA-PK, and topoisomerase II to regulate Pol II pause release and effective transcriptional elongation in humans. This mechanism suggests a positive role of DNA breaks and DNA damage response signaling for transcriptional elongation. Our lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms and dynamics of topoisomerase II-mediated DNA strand break during transcription.

In addition, we study the effects of various environmental and synthetic chemical compounds on the gene expression in humans. Currently, we are investigating the effects of benzoic acids, pesticides, nano cellulose for the purpose to validate their safety to humans or to develop into commercial products.

We are also testing an arsenic compound as a potential cancer drug, collaborating with a pharmaceutical company based in South Korea and Germany.