We study how DNA is repaired in heterochromatin, which contains extensive repeated sequences prone to trigger aberrant recombination, chromosome rearrangements, and genome instability.

We discovered that heterochromatin repair requires surprising nuclear dynamics, including a dramatic relaxation/expansion of the entire heterochromatin domain and relocalization of repair centers to the nuclear periphery.

Our goal is to identify the mechanisms responsible for these dynamics and to understand how their disfunction contributes to human diseases, including cancer and several aging-related disorders.



In this artistic work by S. Colmenares, the heterochromatin compartment is depicted as the Sun. Heterochromatic ‘flares’ are released during repair to allow the recruitment of repair components (yellow and blue dots).

Our research is funded by:

Selected News

Dec 2016: We organized the 2nd SoCal Genome Stability Symposium at the Scripps Institute

Dec 2016: Our Aging Cell paper is out!

Oct 2015: We have been awarded the prestigious Mallinckrodt Foundation Grant to continue our studies on Heterochromatin repair!

Oct 2015: Our Nature Cell
paper is out!

Sept 2015: We receive an NIH R01 grant to unravel the mysteries of Heterochromatin repair!