University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine - Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program
Defects in chromosome segregation during gamete formation are the most significant cause of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities, including Down Syndrome and mental retardation. A critical step in gamete formation that is particularly prone to error is the exchange of DNA between maternal and paternal chromosomes, known as meiotic crossover recombination. We study chromosome dynamics that allow for homologous chromosomes to find each other within the nucleus, pair along their lengths, and make and repair programmed double strand breaks. We are particularly interested in how chromatin structure influences this process and changes in response to age and environmental stimuli.