DNA Repair


Accurate chromosomal DNA replication is of fundamental importance for cellular function, genome integrity and development. In response to replication perturbations, DNA damage response (DDR) and DNA damage tolerance (DDT) pathways become activated and are crucial for detection and tolerance of lesions, as well as for replication completion and chromosome structural integrity. While important functions and key players of these regulatory processes have been outlined, much less is known about the choreography and mechanistic interplay between DDR and DDT. Moreover, the principles by which they uniquely or commonly affect replication-associated chromosome integrity remain poorly understood.


Ongoing Research Projects

We plan to use a palette of ingenious genetic, molecular and proteomic based experimental strategies, to address three main topics. We will define the principles of local and temporal regulation of DDT in response to genotoxic stress, with a focus on the mechanisms of SUMO-regulated DNA metabolism processes. Additionally, we will investigate the topological DNA transitions triggered at intrinsically difficult to replicate genomic regions, stalled and terminal forks, with the aim of identifying key mechanisms and regulators of replication integrity at specific complex genomic regions or following specific types of replication stress. Finally, we will explore the relationship between DDT, replication fork architecture and sister chromatid cohesion in the context of DDR- and SUMO-orchestrated DNA transactions.


Group members

Staff Scientist
  • Barnabas Szakal
Postdoc fellows
  • Ivan Psakhye
  • Madhusoodanan Urulangodi
  • Alexandra Mayer
PhD students
  • Francesco Rossi
    Current PhD project title:
    Roles of the SMC5/6 complex in DNA repair and chromosome integrity
Master Course university students
  • Ryotaro Kawasumi (Tokyo Metropolitan University)
  • Teresa Anne Clarisse Reyes (University of Milan)
Research fellow
  • Andrei Cimpan (University of Bologna)
Former Lab members
  • Demis Menolfi (PhD student, postdoc)
  • Marco Fumasoni (PhD student, postdoc)
  • Federica Castellucci (PhD student, postdoc)
  • Saho Era (PhD student)
  • Saho Era (PhD student)
  • Takuya Abe (postdoc)
  • Marek Sebesta (postdoc)
  • Fabio Vanoli (postdoc)
  • Julie Sollier (postdoc)
  • Eerappa Rajakumara (postdoc)
  • Livia Provitera (postdoc)

(update: May 2016)


09.05.2016 rel.04

IFOM Review

Seeing is believing: catching template-switching in the act
Commentary on Dana Branzei's paper published on Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, by Michael Lichten (2015)
complete review


Press releases


In the press

Spreading the word to talent in Bulgaria
Ideas - European Research Council


Unravelling the secrets of DNA repair


Cellular Task Force To Safeguard Genome Stability


La poetessa del SUMO figlia del mondo


Ricera, italiani primi ma in fuga
Corriere della Sera

2009.10.08 | Gabriella Jacomella