Our laboratory focuses on non-canonical DNA structures, G-quadruplexes and i-motifs. Such sequences are found at telomeres and oncogene promoters among other regions. In addition, we are interested in the non-canonical DNA structures adopted by the repetitive DNA sequences from Satellite 2 and 3 in the pericentromeres of human chromosomes as well as repetitive DNA prone to double strand breaks during replication stress. Small molecule ligands, notably porphyrins, affect strongly fold and stability of G-quadruplex DNA and may act as anticancer therapeutics. We strive to determine the structural details of DNA and DNA-ligand complexes and understand the reasons behind structural diversity of DNA as well as what governs its interactions with ligands. Our efforts will yield coordinates needed for drug discovery platforms and will enable and inform rational design of new anticancer therapeutics. Our favorite techniques include X-ray crystallography, UV-vis, circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), NMR, gel electrophoresis, and synthetic work. Swarthmore undergraduate students will get to learn all or any of the techniques including shooting the crystals with X-ray beam at the national synchrotron facilities (currently we use Advanced Photon Source). We have strong collaborations with researchers from NIH, UPenn, NIST, University of Louisville, and from the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in France.
If you are interested in working in the Yatsunyk lab:
send Liliya an email at lyatsun1
stop by her office in SC 286
check out Application to Join a Research Group site on Chemistry webpage.
Lab News 2019
Congratulation to Liliya on publishing with her collaborator, Brad Johnson a commentary in FEBS Letters titled " G-quadruplexes in fibrotic scars may open new therapeutic avenues for wound healing"
Congratulation to Ariana, Dana, Joanne, Linda, and Liliya on publishing the huge review article in the Journal of Porphyrin and Phthalocyanines titled "N-methylmesoporphyrin IX as a highly selective light-up probe for G-quadruplex DNA". We worked so hard on it and are very happy to be done!
Linda attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim, CA, from November 13 to 16 where she presented a poster on her beautiful THM crystals .
Dana and Liliya gave talks at Philadelphia Inorganic Colloquium that took place at St. Joseph University on November 9. Dana was one of the only two undergraduate students who gave talks. All other presenters were either graduate students or faculty. Sawyer and Joanne presented posters.
Linda, Dana, and Joanne presented their work at Swarthmore Sigma Xi poster session on Sept 12-13
The lab welcomed in August new Research Assistant, Sawyer McCarthy
The lab welcomed in spring two new students, Dana Beseiso '21 and Joanne Miao '22
Liliya spent spring 2019 on sabbatical in Bordeaux at the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in the Mass-Spec laboratory of Valerie Gabelica (Jan - May 2019)