Kara Anne Bernstein, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Education & Training

  • B.A., Biology, Bryn Mawr College - 2000
  • Ph.D., Genetics and Development, Yale University - 2006
  • Post-Doc Genetics, Columbia University - 2011

Research Interest Summary

Our lab studies genetic factors that lead cancer predisposition, particularly breast and ovarian cancers.

Research Categories

Research Interests

Repair of DNA damage is crucial to prevent accumulation of mutations that can cause genomic instability, aging, and cancer.  Our lab studies how double-strand breaks in the DNA, one of the most lethal types of DNA lesions, are repaired.  By understanding the mechanism of double-strand break repair and the role of DNA repair proteins in this process, we will uncover mechanisms of tumorigenesis and cancer progression.  We will then use this knowledge to aid in diagnosis/prognosis of different types of cancers to find novel therapeutic targets for these patients.

Representative Publications

Gaines, W., Godin, S.K., Kabbinavar, F.F., VanDemark, A.P., Sung, P.*, Bernstein, K.A.* (2015) Promotion of presynaptic filament assembly by the ensemble of S. cerevisiae Rad51 paralogs with Rad52, *Co-corresponding, Nature Communications, 28(6): 7834.

Böhm, S., Szakal, B., Herken, B.W., Sullivan, M.R., Mihalevic, M.J., Kabbinavar, F.F., Branzei, D., Clark, N.L., Bernstein, K.A. (2016) The budding yeast ubiquitin protease Ubp7 is a novel component involved in S-phase progression, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(9): 4442-4452.

McClendon, T.B., Sullivan, M.R., Bernstein, K.A.*, Yanowitz, J.L.* (2016) Promotion of homologous recombination by SWS-1 in complex with RAD-51 paralogs in Caenorhabditis elegans, *Co-corresponding, Genetics, 203(1): 133-145.

Godin, S.K., Zhang, Z., Herken, B.W., Westmoreland, J.W., Lee, A.G., Mihalevic, M.J., Yu, Z., Sobol, R.W., Resnick, M.A., Bernstein, K.A. (2016) The Shu complex promotes error-free tolerance of alkylation-induced base excision repair products, Nucleic Acids Research, 44(17): 8199-8215.

Baldock, R.A., Pressimone, C.A., Baird, J.M., Khodakov, A., Luong, T.T., Grundy, M.C., Smith, C.M., Karpenshif, Y., Bratton-Palmer, D.S. ,Prakash, R., Jasin, M., Garcin, E.B., Gon, S., Modesti, M., Bernstein, K.A. (2019) RAD51D splice variants and cancer-associated mutations reveal XRCC2 interaction to be critical for homologous recombination, DNA Repair, 76: 99-107.

Chefetz, I., Yang, K., Hong, L., Vinogradova, E.V., Suciu, R., Kovalenko, I., Grimley, E., Karnak, D., Morgan, C.A., Ctcherbinine, M., Bucman, C., Huddle, B., Barraza, S., Morgan, M., Yoon, E., Lombard, D.B., Bild, A, Mehta, G., Romero, I., Bernstein, K.A., Chiang, C.Y., Landon, C., Cravatt, B., Hurley, T.D., Larsen, S.D., Buckanovich, R.J. (2019) A novel pan-ALDH1A inhibitor induces necroptosis in ovarian cancer stem-like cells, Cell Reports, 26(11): 3061-3075.

Rosenbaum, J.C., Bonilla, B., Hengel, S.R., Mertz, T.M., Herken, B.W., Kazemier, H.G., Pressimone, C.A., Ratterman, T.C., MacNary, E., Godin, S.K., Van Houten, B., Normolle, D.P., Das, S.R., Paeschke, K., Roberts, S.A., VanDemark, A.P., Bernstein, K.A. (2019) The Rad51 paralogs facilitate a novel DNA strand specific damage tolerance pathway, Nature Communications, 10(1): 3515.

Garcin, E.B., Gon, S., Prakash, R., Sullivan, M.R., Brunette, G.J., De Cian, A., Concordet, J.P., Giovannangeli, C., Dirks, W.G., Eberth, S., Bernstein, K.A., Jasin, M., Modesti, M. (2019) Differential requirements for the RAD51 paralogs in genome repair and maintenance in human cells, PLoS Genetics, 15(10): e1008355.

Martino, J., Brunette, G., Moiseeva T., Bakkenist, C.J., O’Sullivan, R.O., Bernstein, K.A. (2019) The human Shu complex functions with PDS5B and SPIDR to promote homologous recombination, Nucleic Acids Research, 47(19): 10151-10165.

Brunette, G.J., Jamalruddin, M.A., Baldock, R.A., Clark, N.L., Bernstein, K.A. (2019) Evolution-based screening enables genome-wide prioritization and discovery of DNA repair genes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(39): 19593-19599.

Full List of Publications