May 21: WSU hosts DNA repair/cancer symposium

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University’s School of Molecular Biosciences this week will host the Smerdon/Reeves Symposium on DNA Repair in Chromatin: The First 40 years (and Beyond).

Reeves (l) and Smerdon
Reeves (l) and Smerdom

Sessions begin at 7:15 pm on Thursday, May 21, at the Marriott Residence Inn in Pullman, Wash. All additional sessions will be conducted at the Lewis Alumni Centre at 8:30 am on Friday, May 22, through 12:15 pm on Saturday, May 23.

Complete information is available at:

The symposium brings together an internationally diverse group of top scientists who have studied chromatin structure, DNA repair and cancer biology during the past four decades. Speakers will discuss their latest results in areas such as chromatin processing, DNA repair signaling, and cancer etiology.

The symposium is a result of a namesake fund dedicated to honor the legacies of Regents Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Michael J. Smerdon, and Professor of Molecular Biosciences, Raymond Reeves, in the area of basic cancer research.

During their careers at WSU both Smerdon and Reeves made pioneering contributions to the understanding of how the structure of DNA in chromatin, influences basic cell functions.

Smerdon pioneered studies on the influence of chromatin structure on DNA repair in living cells, a “front line” defense against mutations and cancer in humans.

Reeves pioneered studies demonstrating how certain protein components of chromatin regulate gene expression and are involved in the induction and progression of human cancer.

Chromatin is a complex of very large molecules found in cells. They are made up of DNA, proteins, and RNA.

Chromatin proteins package enormous strands of DNA into the small volume of the cell nucleus. The bodies also fortify and prevent damage to DNA structurally to allow it to separate cleanly into two exact copies during the process of cell division.

This complex structure also controls which genes are expressed. Cancer occurs when gene regulation malfunctions and cell and tumor growth becomes an unchecked process.



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