February 9, 2021

UAMS’s Justin Leung, Ph.D., Receives $792,000 American Cancer Society Grant to Study DNA Repair Mechanisms

By Spencer Watson

“Understanding the molecular processes of DNA repair can help both better diagnose cancer and to progress treatment,” said Leung, an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology.

The grant will investigate how signaling molecules on chromatin interact with proteins that repair broken DNA during replication.

“Our DNA encounters damage every day from metabolic byproducts, toxic chemicals and ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. Unrepaired DNA damage can lead to accumulation of mutations, which can cause cancer,” Leung explained. “Our lab aims to understand how cells precisely repair DNA damage at the right place and right time. We study how the DNA damage response is initiated and the mechanism by which DNA repair proteins are brought to the DNA breaks.”

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