Abstract: The first part of the talk will be about hundreds of thousands of small extrachromosomal circles of DNA (eccDNA) that the lab discovered in normal cells and cancers. This suggests a new form of genomic instability. We now know that these circles can regulate gene expression and that they are a by-product of chromosomal Double-strand Break repair. Understanding the generation and maintenance of the eccDNA will enable us to decrease eccDNA in cancers where they are the vehicles of oncogene amplification. I will also talk about my laboratory’s long standing investigations on how DNA replication, a critical process in the maintenance of genome stability, is regulated in cancer cells to show how this information can be useful for new cancer therapies and end by showing that models of DNA replication initiation that have been standard in the field for three decades may need some revisions.
Speaker's Bio: Dr. Dutta did his medical degree at Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, his Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University, and postdoctoral training with Bruce Stillman at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. After a short residency in Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he became faculty member in Pathology at Harvard Medical School. In 2003 he moved to become the Harry Byrd Professor at the University of Virginia where he was Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. In 2018 he moved to be Chair of Genetics at the Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
His research interests cover genomic instability in cancer cells and noncoding RNAs in differentiation and cancer. His laboratory identified many of the replication initiation proteins in human cells, used genomics technology to identify hundreds of origins of replication in human chromosomes, discovered a major mechanism by which human cells prevent over-replication of their DNA, and identified a novel class of circular DNA present in normal mammalian cells His laboratory also works on long and short noncoding that regulate cancer cell proliferation and skeletal myoblast differentiation and identified a novel family of short RNAs called tRFs. He has trained over forty scientists who continue research in academia or industry and he has received the following honors: Elected Fellow of the AAAS, Ranbaxy Award for studies on genome instability, the Outstanding Investigator Award of the American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the University of Virginia.