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School of Public Health
Department: Biomedical Sciences
Structural biology; computational biology; DNA replication
Campus phone: (518) 402-2595
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Janice Pata is a researcher at the Wadsworth Center and an associate professor and chair of biomedical sciences at the School of Public Health. Pata's research focuses on computational and structural biology, including DNA replication.
DNA replication is a fundamentally important process in all cells. Mistakes during replication cause mutations as well as large scale genome rearrangements, which can ultimately cause antibiotic resistance in bacteria as well as aging, cancer and resistance to chemotherapy in humans. Over the past decade, the number of known polymerases responsible for genome duplication has expanded dramatically, yet our understanding of how all these enzymes contribute to genome stability is far from complete.
Pata and her research team are particularly interested in how the replicative polymerases, which are responsible for the majority of genome duplication, are replaced by the more specialized polymerases that are responsible for translesion synthesis across from damaged DNA bases. Pata and her team are now turning our research efforts to the replicative and translesion polymerases of Staphylococcus aureus, one of the gram-positive bacteria responsible for about 65 percent of the millions of healthcare-associated infections that occur every year in the United States.