Genome Damage and Stability Centre

About the Genome Centre

Our genomes are probably our most precious possessions. They are made up of long molecules of DNA (Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid) and contain the genetic blueprint that tells every part of our body how to work.

Unfortunately our DNA is continually being damaged, for example: in skin cells - by sunlight; in our intestinal cells - by carcinogens in food; and in fact all our cells - simply by existing at body temperature. Luckily our cells contain sophisticated mechanisms for repairing this damage and thereby protect our genomes.

It is these protective processes that are the focus of the scientific research at the Genome Damage and Stability Centre.

Our work involves the study of different genetic diseases in which one of these repair systems is faulty.

This can result in the affected individuals having very high incidences of cancer (more than 1000 times higher than in the general population). By discovering the nature of the defects in these affected people, we are able not only to help diagnose and cure these conditions, but also to gain general insights into how cancers can arise and develop.

We also study the protein molecules that repair DNA inside cells, as well as the genes that are altered or mutated in cancer cells, and investigate cancer-prone people to identify other potential therapeutic targets in the war against cancer.