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
Alexandra Mayer
Anja Waizzenegger

PhD students

Francesco Rossi
Ryotaro Kawasumi
Sumedha Agashe
Chinnu Rose Joseph

Research fellow

Valeria Dolce

Master Course university students

Teresa Anne Clarisse Reyes (University of Milan)

Former Lab members

Demis Menolfi (PhD student, postdoc)
Marco Fumasoni (PhD student, postdoc)
Federica Castellucci (PhD student, postdoc)
Saho Era (PhD student)
Takuya Abe (postdoc)
Madhusoodanan Urulangodi (postdoc)
Victor Gonzalez-Huici (postdoc)
Marek Sebesta (postdoc)
Fabio Vanoli (postdoc)
Julie Sollier (postdoc)
Eerappa Rajakumara (postdoc)
Livia Provitera (postdoc)

(update: September 2016)


20.09.2016 rel.03

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

Quelli che decidono di restare in Italia
Il Corriere della Sera

2016.02.17 | G.Caprara, A. De Gregorio, V. Santarpia

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