The genetic information of eukaryotic cells is encoded in very large DNA molecules, which have to properly fold into chromosomes so that the information can be read, translated into functional proteins, and transported over cell generations. In proliferating cells, the chromosomal DNA is duplicated during the cell cycle so that each chromosome contains two sister chromatids. The two sister chromatids interact to enable error-free repair of DNA damage. Later in the cell cycle, the sister chromatids form bodies that can be transported by a fiber structure termed mitotic spindle to pass on one DNA copy to each progeny cell.
A new DNA-sequencing-based methodology developed in the Gerlich laboratory enables to study sister chromatid structure and interactions with great detail, providing the basis for the FWF-funded project. The goal of the Hertha Firnberg Program by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)is to improve the career prospects for women in Austrian research facilities, including very generous support for female scientist during the postdoc phase at the start of their scientific careers or on its resumption following maternity leave.
“Using this new sequencing-based technology and bioinformatics analyses, my aim is to understand the organizational principles of replicated human genomes and the functional implications of this organization in the repair of damaged DNA molecules and the faithful inheritance of genetic information” says Zsuzsanna Takács.