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Investigators and Program Directors

Joachim Jaeger

Joachim Jaeger

Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center,
Computational & Structural Biology
Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences

Dipl.Chem., Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (1986)
D.Phil., Biozentrum, University of Basel (1991)
Fogarty International Research Fellow, Yale University, (1992)
University Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer, University of Leeds (1996)


Fig. 1: DNA repair polymerase ß mutator mutant (Ile206 to Gln) complexed with magnesium ions, ddTTP and dsDNA.

Fig. 2:  HRV RNA polymerase with dsRNA. 
Fig. 3: HCV polymerase with ssRNA

Research Interests

Polymerases and Human Disease: fidelity of DNA and RNA replication

The accuracy or fidelity of replication and repair are vitally important to maintaining the genomic integrity in all living organisms. If not corrected, these mistakes will accumulate within our genomes eventually leading to genetic disorders and diseases. In the case of many human pathogenic viruses, however, lack of fidelity is a 'feature' of the replication process and, thus, genomic errors can lead to the rapid adaptation of these pathogens to new environments and/or cause the development of resistance against drugs.

Research in our lab is aimed at understanding the molecular and structural determinants that govern the fidelity of the enzymes involved in the replication and repair processes. Currently, we study human DNA repair polymerase and the RNA dependent RNA polymerases of Hepatitis C virus, West Nile virus and Human Rhinovirus.

Ultimately, the results from these studies will aid the development of therapeutic agents and could lead to a cure for the diseases caused by these proteins. The techniques we use to investigate structure, function and evolutionary relationships of these molecular machines involve X-ray crystallography, solution scattering and computational methods in combination with molecular cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, kinetic assays and spectroscopic methods. More recently, we have included virtual screening and stucture-based inhibitor design to pave the way for new therapeutic approaches.

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Contact Information

Phone: 518-408-2225