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 or the lab SC 285
Lab News 2020
In August, Dana Beseiso '21 virtually attended the ACS Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo and gave an oral presentation, "Biophysical characterization and x-ray crystallography of G-quadruplex telomeric sequences from Tetrahymena thermophila," on her research.
In January, Dana Beseiso '21, Sawyer McCarthy, David Ye '23, and Liliya attended ACS - Philadelphia Local Section, Younger Chemist Committee annual poster session at the University of Sciences, Philadelpha, PA. Dana and Sawyer presented posters about their research.