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Dianne C. Daniel , PhD

    • Title:
    • Associate Professor

    • Role:
    • Faculty

    • Faculty Appointments:
    • Additional Certifications:
    • Focus Areas:
    • Office Location:
    • Lewis Hall

    • Undergraduate Education:
    • Graduate Education:
      • MS, Longwood College, Farmville, VA
      • PhD, City University of New York, New York, NY
    • Postdoctoral Education:
      • Postdoctoral Training, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Rockefeller University, New York, NY
    • Medical Education:
    • Residency:
    • Fellowship
    • Research Interests:
    • Applications accepted from committed researchers.

      Our research is an exploration of molecular mechanisms underlying eukaryotic DNA replication and how these mechanisms are targeted in disease. Discovery at this level is aimed at translation into clinical studies for the prevention and treatment of disease and the bioengineering of novel protein applications. We use both cell culture and human pathology specimens to perform studies that compliment each other. These studies involve various cellular, molecular, biochemical and biophysical approaches. We study two proteins about which little is currently known. These projects are described below.

      Cellular, molecular and biochemical analysis of MCM8 function:

      The role of the minichromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins in initiation of DNA replication has been extensively studied, and the MCM2-7 heterohexamer is proposed to be a replicative helicase unwinding DNA ahead of the replication fork during S phase. Additional functions are currently being ascribed to these family members. In 2003, we discovered the gene for MCM8, a new family member that is not found in yeast, but which has seemly evolved to adapt to the more complex nuclear structure of higher eukaryotes. We, and others, have shown the MCM8 gene to be either mutated or variantly spliced in a choriocarcinoma and virally interrupted in a hepatocarcinoma, respectively. The archael MCM proteins, MCM2-7 and MCM8 proteins are AAA+ (ATPases associated with a variety of cellular activities) enzymes. MCM8 is unique among the family members in that it has intrinsic in vitro helicase activity without the presence of family members MCM2-7. MCM8 interacts with proteins involved in DNA replication, including Cdc6, RPA, Cdk2 and other MCM family members. We are studying the extent to which MCM8 is involved in human pathology.

       Analysis of Pur-gamma and WRN interaction in cancer, aging and in AIDS-associated neurological disorders:

      We are studying the protein Pur-gamma in regard to cancer, aging and neurological disorders associated with AIDS. The Pur-gamma gene is located head to head with the WRN gene and we are investigating the concurrent regulation of these genes and the effect of each protein on the activity of the other. Very little is currently known about Pur-gamma, which at first was thought to be an embryonic form in mice. Our data has revealed expression of this protein under certain pathological conditions in the adult. Our work with this protein is leading to the expansion of our research into DNA repair mechanisms.

    • Primary Specialty:
    • Hospital:
    • Courses Taught:
    • Biomedical Sciences Program Track: Molecular Integrative Biosciences (MIB)

      Medical Students
      Medical Molecular Cell Biology (DNA Replication lectures)
      Medical Biochemistry small groups (14)
      Microbiology and Immunology laboratory facilitator
      Medical Masters

      Library Thesis Research Paper
      Medical Biochemistry small groups (14)
      Graduate (Ph.D. and Research Masters)

      Medical Molecular Cell Biology (DNA Replication lectures)
      Medical Biochemistry small groups (14)
      Advanced Cell Biology (1 lecture and small group)
      Research Techniques (2 lectures)
      Journal Club mentor
      Introduction to the Research Literature (presentation and discussion

    • Current Projects:
    • Bio: