Storici Lab

Welcome to the Storici Lab!

School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Tech

We are interested in elucidating mechanisms of DNA recombination and repair and developing approaches for genetic engineering and gene targeting.
A major focus of our lab's research is to understand the relationship between RNA and DNA in genome stability/instability and DNA modification.

  • Storici Lab, Fall 2017

Research News

Alli Gombolay is awarded the Larry O'Hara Fellowship

Alli was selected for the 2019-20 Larry O'Hara Fellowship, which is awarded to top doctoral students in the College of Sciences.

Havva Keskin begins post-doctoral fellowship

Havva has been awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Chance Meers wins award at 2017 FASEB Meeting

Chance received an award for his presentation at the 2017 FASEB meeting in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Sathya Balachander wins RNA Society award at 2016 RNase H Meeting

Sathya received an RNA Society an award for his presentation on cellular processing of abasic ribonucleotides at the 2016 RNase H Meeting in Kyoto, Japan.

Francesca Storici selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar

Associate Professor Francesca Storici is one of 84 scientists across the U.S. who were selected to receive this award supported by HHMI, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  The award supports early career scientists who have the potential to make unique contributions to their field of research.

Francesca Storici awarded 3 year NSF grant to study mechanisms of RNA-DNA recombination

Associate Professor Francesca Storici received a 3 year grant from the NSF to investigate the biological role of RNA in DNA repair and the conditions in which transcript RNA is a preferred template for DNA double-strand break repair. This study will provide new insight into the impact of RNA on genome maintenance.

Francesca Storici awarded 5 year NIH grant to study ribonucleotides in DNA

Associate Professor Francesca Storici (along with collaborators Dr. Fredrik Vannberg of the School of Biological Sciences and Dr. Gianluca Tell of the University of Udine in Italy) received a 5 year grant from the NIH to profile ribonucleotide incorporation in oxidatively stressed and cancer cells using the ribose-seq method.

Francesca Storici Receives a 5 Year Grant from the National Institutes of Health

In July, Associate Professor Francesca Storici received a 5 year grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate RNA-mediate DNA break repair. Breaks in both strands of the DNA double helix are one of the most harmful DNA lesions because if not properly repaired they lead to mutations, chromosome rearrangements or cell death. The safest way to repair a DNA double-strand break (DSB) is via homologous recombination (HR).

Ribose-seq identifies and locates ribonucleotides in genomic DNA

Ribonucleotides, units of RNA, can become embedded in genomic DNA during processes such as DNA replication and repair, affecting the stability of the genome by contributing to DNA fragility and mutability. Scientists have known about the presence of ribonucleotides in DNA, but until now had not been able to determine exactly what they are and where they are located in the DNA sequences.

Havva Keskin receives Suddath Memorial Award

The award goes to a doctoral student at Tech who has at least one year remaining in his or her program and who has demonstrated a significant research achievement in biology, biochemistry or biomedical engineering. This year, that student is Havva Keskin, who earned the top prize in the 2015 Suddath Award competition. Keskin, a member of Francesca Storici’s laboratory in the School of Biological Sciences, was first author on a recently published paper, “Transcript-RNA-templated DNA recombination and repair,” that appeared in Nature. Now in the fourth year of her research, Keskin wins the $1,000 top prize, and her name will be engraved on the award plaque.

Havva Keskin receives the Wayne and Willa Kerr Award

Havva Keskin won the Wayne and Willa Kerr award for best graduate student paper announced at the School of Biological Sciences Holiday Party.

Study shows cellular RNA can template DNA repair in yeast

The ability to accurately repair DNA damaged by spontaneous errors, oxidation or mutagens is crucial to the survival of cells . This repair is normally accomplished by using an identical or homologous intact sequence of DNA, but scientists have now shown that RNA produced within cells of a common budding yeast can serve as a template for repairing the most devastating DNA damage - a break in both strands of a DNA helix.

How stiff is DNA with RNA intrusions?

To test whether the presence of RNA in DNA duplexes could alter the elasticity and structure of DNA, a group of researchers at Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, inspired by Francesca Storici, and including the labs of Elisa Riedo, Angelo Bongiorno and Markus Germann conducted a multidisciplinary study at the interface of physics, chemistry and molecular biology. The group employed atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based single molecule force-measurements of short rNMP(s)-containing oligonucleotides in combination with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

Aptamers with Aptitude

ZFNs, CRISPR/Cas9, and TALENs are proving to be efficient and effective genome editing tools, but can they be improved by something as simple as an aptamer?

To nick or not to nick the DNA for genome engineering

Exploiting the use of DNA single- and double-strand breaking forms of the I-SceI endonuclease to stimulate homologous recombination and gene targeting in budding yeast and in human cells, the research of Samantha S. Katz in Francesca Storici’ lab provides new mechanistic insights into the process of nick-induced DNA recombination and on the function of nicking enzymes in genetic engineering.

Straight to the target, using aptamers for gene targeting

Taking a DNA molecule into the vicinity of a homologous target gene by a DNA aptamer provides a many-fold enhancement of gene correction frequency at that genetic locus. Aptamer-guided gene targeting, or AGT, is a novel approach for genetic engineering developed by Patrick Ruff in Francesca Storici’s group.

Small DNA Fragments Trigger Chromosomal Rearrangements and Gene Amplification

Researchers in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech have uncovered a novel mechanism of genome mutagenesis and remodeling that could help to explain abnormal DNA amplification in cancer and other degenerative disorders. Cancer and other degenerative disorders are commonly associated with abnormal DNA amplification (resulting in an increase in the number of copies of a DNA segment) in various locations throughout the genome. These mutations can facilitate the aggressiveness of cancer to the detriment of human health and are therefore of great scientific interest.

Study Identifies Mechanisms Cells Use to Remove Bits of RNA from DNA Strands

When RNA component units called ribonucleotides become embedded in genomic DNA, which contains the complete genetic data for an organism, they can cause problems for cells. It is known that ribonucleotides in DNA can potentially distort the DNA double helix, resulting in genomic instability and altered DNA metabolism, but not much is known about the fate of these ribonucleotides.