DNA, also known as the 'blue print' of life, encodes the instructions for the development and function of the vast majority of organisms on our planet. Despite its importance, DNA is intrinsically unstable and is prone to breakage and chemical modifications. If left unrepaired DNA damage can giving rise to mutations, which alter the coding sequence. To counteract the deleterious effects of DNA damage, cells have evolved specialized DNA repair mechanisms. Insights into DNA repair processes and their control has firmly established the importance of DNA repair in ageing and cancer.
This talk discusses the damage that can occur to DNA, and the processes which can be used to repair DNA following damage. Dr Boulton discusses the links between DNA repair and ageing and cancer.
Dr Simon Boulton is Senior Research Scientist and group leader of the DNA Damage Response (DDR) Laboratory at Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, Clare Hall Laboratories and an honorary Professor at University College London. He is a leader in the fields of DNA repair, DNA damage checkpoint signalling and meiosis. Dr Boulton’s lab currently exploits the respective experimental strengths of C. elegans, cultured mammalian cells, mouse models and biochemistry to investigate the DDR. This combination of approaches has led them to make a number of seminal contributions to the field of genome instability and cancer. The current and long-term goals of his lab are to understand how DNA repair processes are regulated in mitotic and meiotic cells.
The Francis Crick Lecture is given annually in any field in the biological sciences. Preference is given to genetics, molecular biology and neurobiology, the general areas in which Francis Crick worked, and to fundamental theoretical work, which was the hallmark of Crick’s science.
The lectureship was endowed by Sydney Brenner FRS in memory of Francis Crick FRS. The first lecture was given in 2003.