Ribonucleotide Processing in Telomere Maintenance and Integrity

2024 Emerging Leader Award

Bret Freudenthal, PhD, University of Kansas Medical Center

Bret Freudenthal, PhD

Chromosomes are capped by repetitive DNA sequences called telomeres that protect vital genetic information, and in most cancers, telomeres are lengthened to support sustained cancer cell survival. Telomeres are normally composed of DNA, but they can also contain RNA, which is a form of DNA damage. The overarching goal of this proposal is to understand the prevalence of telomeric ribonucleotides, how they are repaired, and how ribonucleotides alter telomeric integrity to promote genome instability. 

Dr. Freudenthal is a member of the University of Kansas Cancer Center and an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The overarching goal of his laboratory is to understand the interplay between DNA damage and human health. While a general connection between DNA damage and human disease has been established, it remains unclear how DNA damage is processed at the molecular level. To gain this insight, the Freudenthal lab utilizes structural, molecular, and cellular biology approaches to investigate complex biological questions with the goal of developing better therapeutic treatments for cancer patients.