Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Chief
Shiv Grewal, Ph.D.
Deputy Chief
Michael Lichten, Ph.D.

The Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (LBMB) carries out basic research into the mechanisms underlying cell growth, division, differentiation and homeostasis with a focus on the biology of chromosomes and the cell nucleus. LBMB fosters an interdisciplinary approach in which the methods of biophysics, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology are used in an interactive and collaborative research environment to solve problems of fundamental importance. The Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a merger of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and the Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology. It was officially inaugurated in October 2006. 

Understanding Uniparental Disomy

Research Interests

Shiv Grewal investigates the mechanisms of heterochromatin assembly and their roles in maintaining genome stability using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model system. A major focus is the role of RNAi in processing transcripts generated from repetitive elements at centromeres, telomeres and the mat locus to target and establish constitutive heterochromatin at these regions. Recently, his lab has begun to elucidate the role of RNAi-dependent and RNAi-independent mechanisms in establishing facultative heterochromatin in different parts of the genome.

Michael Lichten investigates mechanisms of DNA damage repair and homologous recombination, focusing on meiotic recombination in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. His group examines the impact of chromatin structure, chromosome structure, and chromosome replication on the distribution and outcome of meiotic recombination events. The roles of DNA repair, the DNA damage response, and cell cycle regulatory proteins in homologous recombination are also explored.

Yawen Bai investigates the mechanism of protein folding and chromatin dynamics using biophysical techniques, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). His research is focused on determining high-resolution structures of protein folding intermediates, histone variants in complex with their chaperones, and nucleosomes in complex with nucleosome-binding proteins. His laboratory also helps other NCI investigators determine the structures of proteins to aid in cancer drug design.

Dhruba Chattoraj investigates the molecular mechanisms that control chromosome replication and segregation in model organisms such as Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae. The primary interest of his group is to understand how once-per-cell-cycle replication is ensured in bacteria. His recent work in V. cholerae, a bacterium with two chromosomes, focuses on how multiple chromosomes are maintained in bacteria.

Julie Cooper investigates the spectrum and mechanisms of telomere function. Recent discoveries include a mode by which ‘generic’ heterochromatin can acquire end-protection capacity in a telomerase-negative setting; this strategy, identified in fission yeast, may be used by telomerase-negative human cancer cells to attain unlimited proliferation.  The lab has also expanded the telomeric repertoire, finding that telomeres share with centromeres the ability to control nuclear envelope breakdown and spindle assembly, re-casting our conception of telomere and centromere interchangeability and function.

Alex Kelly investigates the mechanisms by which chromatin structure and modification coordinate the key events of mitosis. He employs a combination of biochemical reconstitution, structural biology and cell biology to understand how localized biochemical reactions on chromosomes are initiated and controlled to ensure high-fidelity chromosome segregation.

Joanna Vidigal is examining the mechanisms through which small noncoding RNA pathways regulate gene expression during animal development, tissue homeostasis, and disease.

Emeritus Scientists

Bruce Paterson pioneered the use of cell-free protein synthesis systems in the analysis of gene function. He co-developed the wheat-germ cell-free protein synthesis system, one of the first methods used to analyze functional mRNA levels in normal and transformed cells and tissues. He has been a major contributor to the study of myogenesis in both vertebrates and in Drosophila, and was one of the first to demonstrate RNAi knock-down to study gene function during Drosophila development.

Carl Wu has an enduring interest in the role of chromatin architecture in gene expression and chromosome functions, with the goal of discovering fundamental principles of chromatin biology.

 

Position Keywords Contact Name Contact E-mail Number of Positions
Postdoctoral Fellow

Single-cell Genomics, Chromosome Biology, Gene Expression

Chongyi Chen chongyi.chen@nih.gov Multiple Positions Available
Postdoctoral Fellow

Mitosis, kinetochores, cytoskeleton

Alexander Kelly alexander.kelly@nih.gov Multiple Positions Available

About

The Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (LBMB) carries out basic research into the mechanisms underlying cell growth, division, differentiation and homeostasis with a focus on the biology of chromosomes and the cell nucleus. LBMB fosters an interdisciplinary approach in which the methods of biophysics, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology are used in an interactive and collaborative research environment to solve problems of fundamental importance. The Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a merger of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and the Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology. It was officially inaugurated in October 2006. 

Understanding Uniparental Disomy

Research Interests

Shiv Grewal investigates the mechanisms of heterochromatin assembly and their roles in maintaining genome stability using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model system. A major focus is the role of RNAi in processing transcripts generated from repetitive elements at centromeres, telomeres and the mat locus to target and establish constitutive heterochromatin at these regions. Recently, his lab has begun to elucidate the role of RNAi-dependent and RNAi-independent mechanisms in establishing facultative heterochromatin in different parts of the genome.

Michael Lichten investigates mechanisms of DNA damage repair and homologous recombination, focusing on meiotic recombination in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. His group examines the impact of chromatin structure, chromosome structure, and chromosome replication on the distribution and outcome of meiotic recombination events. The roles of DNA repair, the DNA damage response, and cell cycle regulatory proteins in homologous recombination are also explored.

Yawen Bai investigates the mechanism of protein folding and chromatin dynamics using biophysical techniques, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). His research is focused on determining high-resolution structures of protein folding intermediates, histone variants in complex with their chaperones, and nucleosomes in complex with nucleosome-binding proteins. His laboratory also helps other NCI investigators determine the structures of proteins to aid in cancer drug design.

Dhruba Chattoraj investigates the molecular mechanisms that control chromosome replication and segregation in model organisms such as Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae. The primary interest of his group is to understand how once-per-cell-cycle replication is ensured in bacteria. His recent work in V. cholerae, a bacterium with two chromosomes, focuses on how multiple chromosomes are maintained in bacteria.

Julie Cooper investigates the spectrum and mechanisms of telomere function. Recent discoveries include a mode by which ‘generic’ heterochromatin can acquire end-protection capacity in a telomerase-negative setting; this strategy, identified in fission yeast, may be used by telomerase-negative human cancer cells to attain unlimited proliferation.  The lab has also expanded the telomeric repertoire, finding that telomeres share with centromeres the ability to control nuclear envelope breakdown and spindle assembly, re-casting our conception of telomere and centromere interchangeability and function.

Alex Kelly investigates the mechanisms by which chromatin structure and modification coordinate the key events of mitosis. He employs a combination of biochemical reconstitution, structural biology and cell biology to understand how localized biochemical reactions on chromosomes are initiated and controlled to ensure high-fidelity chromosome segregation.

Joanna Vidigal is examining the mechanisms through which small noncoding RNA pathways regulate gene expression during animal development, tissue homeostasis, and disease.

Emeritus Scientists

Bruce Paterson pioneered the use of cell-free protein synthesis systems in the analysis of gene function. He co-developed the wheat-germ cell-free protein synthesis system, one of the first methods used to analyze functional mRNA levels in normal and transformed cells and tissues. He has been a major contributor to the study of myogenesis in both vertebrates and in Drosophila, and was one of the first to demonstrate RNAi knock-down to study gene function during Drosophila development.

Carl Wu has an enduring interest in the role of chromatin architecture in gene expression and chromosome functions, with the goal of discovering fundamental principles of chromatin biology.

 

PI & Key Staff

Positions

Position Keywords Contact Name Contact E-mail Number of Positions
Postdoctoral Fellow

Single-cell Genomics, Chromosome Biology, Gene Expression

Chongyi Chen chongyi.chen@nih.gov Multiple Positions Available
Postdoctoral Fellow

Mitosis, kinetochores, cytoskeleton

Alexander Kelly alexander.kelly@nih.gov Multiple Positions Available

Contact Info

Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 37, Room 6606C
Bethesda, MD 20892-4260
Ph: 240-760-7572
Administrative Lab Manager
240-760-7572
Program Specialist
240-760-7574
Technical Lab Manager
240-760-7546