Santocanale Lab

The process of DNA replication is the biggest threat for genome stability in all proliferating cells. Cancer cells in particular are subjected to replication stress after activation of proto-oncogenes into their oncogenic forms or due to deficiency in specific factors required for genome duplication. Thus aberrant DNA replication contributes to initiating and maintaining the cancerous state, while drugs targeting DNA synthesis have potent antitumor activity and are key component of current and novel chemotherapeutic regimens.Our laboratory is studying the mechanisms that regulate genome replication in human cells with particular emphasis on the Cell Division Cycle 7 kinase (CDC7). CDC7 acts as a molecular switch for DNA synthesis at origins of replication and controls the processing of replication forks through the MRE11 nuclease.  CDC7 is also thought to participate in several other processes that regulate normal cell cycle progression and chromosome dynamics.

We apply modern techniques of Molecular and Cellular Biology as well Chemical Biology and Genomics approaches to reveal how cells duplicate their DNA and to understand cellular responses when this process is perturbed by either intrinsic or extrinsic factors.

We are part of the Centre for Chromosome Biology (CCB)  at the University of Galway . 

We work with young researchers from all nations at all levels of their career: from undergraduate students performing their 4th year projects to young Erasmus visiting researchers, Master students, PhD students and more experienced postdoctoral researchers. The CCB currently comprises 12 core groups and 4 associate member groups. We have a range of technologies available for studying chromosome biology at the molecular and cellular level.

We are located in the recently opened Biomedical Sciences Building, which is purpose built and hosts the most active researchers involved in biomedical research at NUIG. The building was conceived to provide state of the art infrastructure for biomedical research, offering the most modern and research conductive space, with large open space laboratories, desks, offices and support space.

The purpose of this site is to give information on our activities and a feeling of what it is like to work in our lab.

We thank Elena Santocanale for starting this website during the Covid pandemic.