Molecular Biology Program
The Xiaolan Zhao Lab
DNA replication, repair, and damage response, collectively called the 3Rs, support genome stability and faithful genetic inheritance. Proteins involved in the 3Rs are genome guardians that prevent a broad spectrum of diseases, ranging from cancers, immunological and neurodegenerative diseases, to developmental disorders such as diabetes and premature aging. Our lab investigates 3R mechanisms, 3R protein functions and structures, and their links to human disease. Our main research interests include:
- Mechanisms of genome duplication during growth and under stress conditions that mimics carcinogenic exposure or chemotherapeutic treatment.
- DNA repair processes that restore genetic information perturbed by a variety of DNA lesions arising from genotoxic exposures.
- The DNA damage response systems that monitor genome lesion burdens and deploy signaling pathways to induce multi-faceted physiological changes, ranging from metabolic and epigenetic changes, cell cycle delays, to chromosomal organization and maintenance adjustments.
To illuminate 3R processes and genome guardian functions, we have implemented cutting-edge and multi-disciplinary approaches, including genetic, biochemical, cell biological, structural, and genomic strategies. Our broad research scope and approaches provide lab members ample opportunities to explore and discover new biological principles. Our lab also offers a nurturing and supportive environment with tailored mentoring and training to advance lab members’ abilities in research, writing, presentation, and leadership.
Yu Y, Li S, Ser Z, Kuang H, Than T, Guan D, Zhao X*, Patel DJ. (*co-corresponding author) (2022). Cryo-EM structure of DNA-bound Smc5/6 reveals DNA clamping enabled by multi-subunit conformational changes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jun 7;119(23):e2202799119. Epub 2022 Jun 1. PubMed PMID: 35648833.
Yu Y, Li S, Ser Z, Sanyal T, Choi K, Wan B, Kuang H, Sali A, Kentsis A, Patel DJ, Zhao X*. (*co-corresponding author) (2021) Integrative analysis reveals unique structural and functional features of the Smc5/6 complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 118(19):e2026844118.
Dhingra N, Kuppa S, Wei L, Pokhrel N, Baburyan S, Meng X, Antony E, Zhao X (2021). The Srs2 helicase dampens DNA damage checkpoint by recycling RPA from chromatin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 23;118(8):e2020185118.
Li S, Bonner JN, Wan B, So S, Summers A, Gonzalez L, Xue X, Zhao X (2021). Esc2 orchestrates substrate-specific sumoylation by acting as a SUMO E2 cofactor in genome maintenance. Genes Dev. 35(3-4):261-272.
Xiaolan Zhao, PhD
- Molecular biologist Xiaolan Zhao studies chromosomal organization, genome integrity, DNA replication and repair, dynamic protein modification.
- PhD, Columbia University
- Bressler Scholar, Alfred W. Bressler Scholar Endowment Fund (2007-2010)
- Research Scholar, American Cancer Society (2012-2016)
- Scholar, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (2013-2018)
- Discovery of the extensive SUMO-based DNA damage response
- Discovery of the connection between the nuclear pore complex and desumoylation
- Discovery of the Smc5/6 complex in budding yeast
- Discovery of the essential function of the DNA replication and damage checkpoint
Lab News & Events
Shibai and Jake’s paper on the functions of a sumoylation cofactor is out in Genes Dev (2021).
Bingbing started his own lab at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Michael’s new lab is not far from Bingbing’s lab in the same University!
Congrats to Michael and Wei for their work on POLe that synthesizes half of our body’s DNA (Nat Commun 2020).
We welcome new Research Scholars, Jiayi and Thane.
Congrats to Nalini for winning 2020 Kravis Women in Science Endeavor grant!
A shout out to Danying who won best Oral Presentation at 2020 ABRC conference.
Bingbing’s structural paper on a genome maintenance hub is out in Mol Cell, 2019.
Read up our reviews on SUMO-based controls in Genes Dev, 2019 and Mol Cell. 2018.
Congrats to Silva for winning the 2021 Jonas E Salk Scholarship!
To learn more about available postdoctoral opportunities, please visit our Career Center
Get in Touch
Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.
MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.
Xiaolan Zhao discloses the following relationships and financial interests:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Provision of Services (uncompensated)
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This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2021 through disclosure submission in spring 2022). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.