Nimrat Chatterjee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Training & Education

Dr. Nimrat Chatterjee received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine, studying the role of ‘environmental stress and DNA repair in trinucleotide repeat mutagenesis’ with Dr. John H. Wilson. For postdoctoral research, she studied ‘mechanisms of radiosensitivity in Shwachman-Diamond syndrome patient lymphocytes’ with Dr. Alison A. Bertuch at Baylor College of Medicine, and worked on ‘understanding the biology and therapeutic targeting of translesion synthesis polymerases’ with Dr. Graham C. Walker at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before joining the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at UVM in 2020.

Research Interests

As a molecular biologist, I am very interested in understanding mechanisms that maintain genomic stability and how dysfunction in these processes result in human diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. My lab focuses on DNA repair pathways that fix damaged DNA and the translesion synthesis process that tolerates DNA damage. It is the dynamism between these two pathways that maintain genomic health. 

From a cancer biology perspective, the lab examines some key questions: 1) What factors drive cancer onset? 2) How cancer cells continue to divide unabated and relapse after initial treatment. 3) How therapeutic targeting can rescue the cancer problem. We are specifically studying novel phenotypes of one translesion synthesis protein, REV1, that might help address missing links in understanding cancer etiology. We are also examining how stress factors might influence REV1’s functionality in cancer sustenance and therapy resistance.

The lab also actively explores the consequences of disrupting pathways that maintain genomic health in triplet repeat disorders. We are particularly interested in examining the interplay of stress responses and DNA repair that instigates repetitive DNA instability. 

The lab employs several tools to address these compelling questions, such as tissue culturing, DNA/RNA amplification, microscopy, and other molecular biology methods. We welcome our students, colleagues, and collaborators to join hands in this marvelous adventure!

Featured Publications

  1. Chatterjee N., Whitmann M., Harris C.A., Lee M., Jonas J., Lien E.C., Heiden M.G.V., Hong J., Zhou P., Hemann M.T. and G.C. Walker. (2020). REV1 inhibitor JH-RE-06 enhances tumor cell response to chemotherapy by triggering senescence. PNAS. 28918-28921 (Spotlighted at MIT News).
  2. Wojtaszek J.#, Chatterjee N.#, Najeeb J.# Lee M., Ramos A., Bian K., Xue J., Li D., Hemann M.T., Hong J., Walker G.C. and P. Zhou (2019). Small molecule adjuvant enhances tumor cell response to chemotherapy by disrupting REV1/REV7-mediated mutagenic translesion synthesis. CELL 178, 152-159 (# Co-first author). Spotlighted in MIT News and news media. Recommended by f1000. Highlighted in Commentaries.
  3. Chatterjee N., D’Souza S., Shabab M., Harris C.A., Heliniski G., Verdine G.L., Walker G.C (2020). A stapled Pol k peptide targets Rev1 and inhibits translesion synthesis. Env & Mol Mutagenesis 1-7.
  4. Chatterjee N., Lin Y., Santillan B.A., Yotnda P., Wilson J.H. (2015). Environmental stress-induces trinucleotide repeat instability in human cells. PNAS. 112(12), 3764-3769. (PNAS Metrics: top 25% articles ever published).
  5. Chatterjee N., Lin Y., Wilson J.H. (2016). Mismatch repair enhances convergent transcription-induced cell death at trinucleotide repeats by activating ATR. DNA Repair. 42, 26-32.                 

Contact Information

Office: Stafford 302B

Office Phone: 802-656-1714

Lab: 302 Stafford Hall

Lab Phone: 802-656-9753


Lab Team

Graduate Students: Will accept in 2021. Josh Victor currently rotating. 

Students: Erica Lamkin, Andrew Crompton, Kira Fisher, Jim Parisi, Anthony March