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Kara Bernstein, PhD

Associate Professor
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
5117 Centre Avenue, Research Pavilion, 2.42e
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-864-7742
Fax: 412-623-1010


B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 2000
Ph.D., Yale University, 2006
Postdoctorate Fellowship, Columbia University, 2006-2011
Headshot of Kara Bernstein, PhD
Repair of DNA damage is crucial to prevent accumulation of mutations that can cause genomic instability, aging, and cancer.  Our lab studies how double-strand breaks in the DNA, one of the most lethal types of DNA lesions, are repaired.  By understanding the mechanism of double-strand break repair and the role of DNA repair proteins in this process, we will uncover mechanisms of tumorigenesis and cancer progression.  We will then use this knowledge to aid in diagnosis/prognosis of different types of cancers to find novel therapeutic targets for these patients.

Journal Articles

Chefetz, I, Yang, K, Hong, L, Vinogradova, EV, Suciu, R, Kovalenko, I, Grimley, E, Karnak, D, Morgan, CA, Chtcherbinine, M, Bucman, C, Huddle, B, Barraza, S, Morgan, M, Yoon, E, Lombard, DB, Bild, A, Mehta, G, Romero, I, Bernstein, KA, Chiang, CY, Landon, C, Cravatt, B, Hurley, TD, Larsen, SD and Buckanovich, .J. A novel pan-ALDH1A inhibitor induces necroptosis in ovarian cancer stem-like cells, Cell Reports 26(11): 3061-3075, 2019.
Rosenbaum, JC, Bonilla, B, Hengel, SR, Mertz, TM, Herken, BW, Kazemier, HG, Pressimone, CA, Ratterman, TC, MacNary, E, Godin, SK, Van Houten, B, Normolle, DP, Das, SR, Paeschke, K, Roberts, SA, VanDemark, AP and Bernstein, K.A. The Rad51 paralogs facilitate a novel DNA strand specific damage tolerance pathway, Nature Communications, 10(1):3515, 2019.
Barroso-Gonzalez, J, Garcia Exposito, L, Hoang, SM, Lynskey, ML, Roncaioli, JL, Ghosh, A, Wallace, C, Modesti, M, Bernstein, KA, Sarkar, SN, Watkins, S and O’Sullivan, R.  RAD51AP1 is an essential mediator of alternative lengthening of telomeres.  Molecular Cell 76(1):11-26, 2019.
Garcin, EB, Gon, S, Prakash, R, Sullivan, MR, Brunette, GJ, De Cian, A, Concordet, JP, Giovannangeli, C, Dirks, WG, Eberth, S, Bernstein, KA, Jasin, M and Modesti, M. Differential requirements for the RAD51 paralogs in genome repair and maintenance in human cells, PLoS Genetics 15(10):e1008355, 2019.
Martino, J, Brunette, G, Moiseeva T, Bakkenist, CJ, O’Sullivan, RO and Bernstein, KA. The human Shu complex functions with PDS5B and SPIDR to promote homologous recombination, Nucleic Acids Research 47(19):10151-10165, 2019.
Brunette, GJ, Jamalruddin, MA, Baldock, RA, Clark, NL and Bernstein, K.A. Evolution-based screening enables genome-wide prioritization and discovery of DNA repair genes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(39):19593-19599, 2019.