Maria Victoria Botuyan, Ph.D., is a biochemist and structural biologist. She is interested in the molecular basis of the DNA damage response (DDR).
The main objective of Dr. Botuyan's work is to understand how genome integrity is maintained and how impaired repair of DNA damage can lead to tumorigenesis and cancer. In this context, she has characterized the 3-D structures of several DDR protein domain complexes, with some protein-protein interactions directed by serine phosphorylation or lysine methylation.
Dr. Botuyan's current work concentrates on the structure and function of ubiquitin ligases and noncoding RNAs in the DNA damage response.
- Chromatin association of DNA damage response proteins. Dr. Botuyan is trying to understand how DDR proteins can specifically interact with histones and DNA in nucleosomes.
- Regulated assembly of DNA damage response protein complexes by RNA. Dr. Botuyan is trying to understand how noncoding RNAs contribute to the assembly of functional DDR protein complexes.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Botuyan's research helps explain how DNA repair proteins assemble into functional complexes. The basic structural knowledge resulting from her work is expected to facilitate the design of small-molecule inhibitors of DDR enzymes or protein-protein interactions that could in the future be developed into new therapeutics, notably for breast and ovarian cancer treatment.