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. 

We have recently expanded our investigations of the DNA repair and translesion synthesis pathways during host cell response to virus infections. We have actively pursued how RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and Dengue, impact the DNA damage response, including the expression and function of Double-strand break repair and translesion synthesis proteins.

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. Ikeh K., Lamkin E., Crompton A., Deutsch J., Fisher K., Gray M., Argyle D., Lim W., Korzhnev D., Hadden K., Hong J., Zhou P., and N. Chatterjee (2021). REV1 inhibition enhances radioresistance and autophagy. Cancers 202113(21), 5290; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13215290.
  2. Victor J., Deutsch J., Whitaker A., Lamkin E.N., March A., Zhou P., Botten J.H., and N. Chatterjee (2021). SARS-CoV-2 triggers DNA damage response in Vero E6 cells. BBRC https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2021.09.024. Spotlighted by News-Medical net.
  3. 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).
  4. 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 Mutagenesis1-7. https://doi.org/10.1002/em.22395.
  5. 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.
Group photo with Chatterjee Lab Team

Contact Information

Office/Lab:

Firestone Medical Research Building (FMRB) 350

Phone: 802-656-1714

Email

Lab Team

Graduate Students:

Kanayo Ikeh (M.S.)

Joshua Victor (M.S.)

Maggie Trout (M.S.)

Masters Student:

Erica Lamkin

Undergraduate Students: 

Andrew Crompton

Lindsay Allen

Research Employee: 

Anthony March