The chemical biology and function of natural modified DNA bases in genomes


  • Prof Sir Shankar Balasubramanian

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

Several modified DNA bases have been recently identified in the genomic DNA of human cells and they effectively expand the DNA alphabet. Studies have suggested these modifications may be important for transcription, development and cell identity.

I aim to understand the function(s) of several newly discovered base modifications by studying how they affect the structure of DNA and mechanisms at the molecular and cellular levels using interdisciplinary approaches that include chemical biology, molecular biophysics and sequencing methods, several of which were developed in my lab. 

My findings will help explain why these modified letters of the DNA alphabet exist, how they affect function in normal cells and organisms and also in disease, and may also provide new insights into future applications such as diagnostics and therapeutics.