The Lyndaker lab uses genetic and molecular biological techniques to study DNA repair mechanisms, and we are specifically interested in a protein complex called 9-1-1 (RAD9-RAD1-HUS1) that is important for recognizing DNA damage and making sure that the damage gets repaired correctly. Most recently I've become interested in why humans and a subset of other mammals have two versions of the HUS1 gene, while many other organisms (including mammals like the platypus and the opossum) only have one. We have been focusing on computational work to look at the evolution of HUS1 and its paralog HUS1B, which primarily involves DNA and protein sequence comparisons.

Why do mammals have multiple 9-1-1 complexes?

Yeasts and other invertebrates contain only one 9-1-1 complex, whereas the presence of RAD9B in vertebrates and HUS1B in a subset of placental mammals suggests the presence of multiple distinct 9-1-1 complexes in higher eukaryotes.

Buffalo DNA Replication and Repair Symposium, 2016

Kelsey Quail '17, Sam Brosman '17, Dr. Lyndaker, Caroline Connolly '19, and Andrew Spitznogle '19 presenting their research at the 20th Annual Buffalo DNA Replication and Repair Symposium, May 5-6th 2016.
We use budding yeast as a model organism, and are designing ways to study the human HUS1 and HUS1B genes in yeast. (Interestingly, budding yeast have a single HUS1 gene that is partially similar to human HUS1, and partially similar to human HUS1B.) We are also designing ways to put specific mutations in the yeast HUS1 gene in order to understand not only how HUS1 and HUS1B function to protect the genome, but how those same mutations in the human genes can affect human disease, for example loss of fertility or development of cancer.

We began another exciting research project in Winter 2017 in collaboration with chemist and distiller Dr. Jared Baker at Finger Lakes Distilling. Our goal is to use genetic testing methods to identify wild yeast species found in the fermentation tanks at certain time points during the whiskey fermentation process. Students have been processing samples taken before and at particular time points after pitch yeast addition, isolating microorganisms from each sample, extracting DNA, and using a combination of PCR, restriction digest, and gel electrophoresis to create DNA profiles and identify yeast species. This is an ongoing project with many samples to process, so let me know if you are interested in joining our group!
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