Richard Kolodner, Ph.D.

  • Chair, Scientific Review Council
    Head, Academic Affairs, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, New York Offices
    Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research San Diego Branch and Head of the Laboratory of Cancer Genetics
    Distinguished Professor of Medicine and of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine

Research Focus

The major research interest of Dr. Kolodner’s laboratory is using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism to study the molecular mechanisms by which cells maintain the stability of their genome and prevent the accumulation of mutations and genome rearrangements. The laboratory also works on inherited defects in human recombination and repair genes to understand how such defects cause cancer susceptibility and to understand the basic human genetics of these genes. These studies have involved the routine use of techniques in S. cerevisiae genetics, protein purification, genomics and human genetics.

Research in Dr. Kolodner's laboratory is focused on two major projects. In the first project, the laboratory is using S. cerevisiae to study the genes and proteins that function in DNA Mismatch Repair (MMR), a pathway that prevents mutations from accumulating as a result of errors during DNA Replication. The majority of ongoing work on this project is directed at the purification and study of MMR proteins, the reconstitution of MMR using purified proteins and the biochemical analysis of the mechanism of MMR. As part of Dr. Kolodner's work on MMR, his laboratory has made a number of important contributions to the discovery that a common cancer susceptibility syndrome, hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) sometimes called Lynch Syndrome, is caused by inherited defects in MMR genes. The laboratory also discovered that the majority of sporadic MMR defective cancers occur as the result of epigenetic silencing of MMR genes. In a second project on DNA repair in S. cerevisiae, Dr. Kolodner's laboratory identified a new class of genes that prevent the accumulation of deletion mutations and chromosomal translocations like the chromosomal rearrangements seen in human cancer cells. The majority of onging work on this project is directed at identifying the genes and pathways that suppress genome rearrangements, identifying the mechanisms by which genome rearrangement are formed and prevented, and determining if defects in genome rearrangement suppressing pathways play a role in the development of cancer.


University of California, Irvine, B.S.
University of California, Irvine, Ph.D., Biological Sciences
Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School

Other Experience

Member, American Society for Microbiology
Member, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Member, Genetics Society of America
Member, American Association for Cancer Research
Co-editor-in-chief of PLASMID
Associate Editor, Cancer Research
Associate Editor, Cell
Editorial Board Member, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Editorial Board Member, Journal of Biological Chemistry
Advisory Committee, NIH consortium of Familial Colon Cancer Registries

Selected Honors

ACS Junior Faculty Research Award
ACS Faculty Research Award
Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Inc. Special Scientific Achievement Award
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Morse Research Award
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Charles A. Dana Senior Investigator Chair
Charles S. Mott Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation
Kirk A. Landon-American Association for Cancer Research Award for Basic Cancer Research
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Member, National Academy of Sciences (USA)
Member, Institute of Medicine (USA)