Group leader and Executive Director
Jiri Lukas is interested in how DNA repair and signaling proteins wire themselves into functional pathways, how are these pathways organized in the three-dimensional space of the cell nucleus, and how malfunction of these mechanisms impacts on etiology of cancer and other diseases marked by unstable genomes. His laboratory has contributed by major discoveries and concepts that illuminate physiology and pathology of genome surveillance. These discoveries include signaling pathways that delay cell cycle progression to DNA damage, role of regulatory ubiquitylation in orchestrating assembly of genome caretakers at damaged chromosomes, role of DNA replication stress in fueling genome instability during oncogenic transformation, and identification of rate-limiting genome caretakers as guardians of DNA repair fidelity and potentially druggable targets of cancer. Most recently, the Lukas lab became focused on investigating how DNA repair and signaling pathways operate in the context of endogenous and hence unavoidable genotoxic assaults such as fluctuations of cellular metabolic pathways. In addition to the conceptual focus, the Lukas lab is renowned for pioneering high-content imaging with genetic silencing and informatics to generate powerful data resources for studying genome caretaking proteins encoded by hitherto uncharacterized genes.