Marissa Torres

Ph.D. Student

Areas of Interest

DNA damage can come from a variety of sources and appear in many different forms. A common type of damage is alkylation damage. Many different enzymes can repair alkylated bases, but the most recently identified enzyme is AlkB. The enzyme from E. coli was the first to be discovered, but there are homologs of this enzyme from bacteria to humans. AlkB is a part of the direct repair pathway of DNA repair and catalyzes oxidative dealkylation in a range of substrates in both double and single stranded DNA. Although there is a wealth of structural information for AlkB in complex with different nucleic acid substrates, there are many questions about the repair mechanism and substrate specificity. My current project seeks to understand how AlkB searches DNA to find and repair a structurally diverse set of alkylated base lesions.

Mentor:  Dr. Patrick O'Brien