Dale Ramsden

Keywords: Chromosome breaks, DNA repair, end joining, DNA polymerase, DNA ligase

Dale Ramsden

Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, Biochemistry and Biophysics
(PhD - University of Toronto)


32-044 Lineberger Cancer Center
CB# 7295
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295

Ramsden Lab Website


  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholarship: 2006-2011
  • Jefferson Pilot Fellowship: 2003-2006
  • Searle Scholar: 1999-2002
  • Cancer Research Institute Fellowship: 1996-1998
  • Govenor General's Gold Medal: 1994


Mammals use three distinct pathways for repairing chromosome breaks. My lab is interested in the mechanistic details of how each pathway works, but also how and why a given pathway is chosen, and the consequences of choosing the “wrong” pathway. Our work has relevance to normal organismal development and aging, as well as carcinogenesis and cancer therapy. Notably, repair of chromosome breaks is also central to genome engineering.

We use diverse approaches, including biochemical analyses and somatic cell genetics. We also work closely with a wide variety of labs with expertise in protein structure determination, biophysics, cell biology, and model organism genetics.


  • Wyatt DW, Feng W, Conlin MP, Yousefzadeh MJ, Roberts SA, Mieczkowski P, Wood RD, Gupta GP, Ramsden DA. Essential roles for Polymerase θ mediated end-joining in repair of chromosome breaks. Mol Cell. 2016 Aug 18;63(4):662-73. *Featured paper.
  • Pryor JM*, Waters CA*, Aza A, Asagoshi K, Strom C, Mieczkowski PA, Blanco L, Ramsden DA. Essential role for polymerase specialization in cellular nonhomologous end joining. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Aug 18;112(33):E4537-45.
  • Waters CA, Strande NT, Pryor JM, Strom CN, Mieczkowski P, Burkhalter MD, Oh S, Qaqish BF, Moore DT, Hendrickson EA, Ramsden DA. The fidelity of the ligation step determines how ends are resolved during nonhomologous end joining. Nat Commun. 2014 Jul 3;5:4286.
  • Yousefzadeh MJ, Wyatt DW, Takata K, Mu Y, Hensley SC, Tomida J, Bylund GO, Doublié S, Johansson E, Ramsden DA, McBride KM, Wood RD. Mechanism of suppression of chromosomal instability by DNA polymerase POLQ. PLoS Genet. 2014 Oct;10(10):e1004654.
  • Roberts SA, Strande N, Burkhalter MD, Strom C, Havener JM, Hasty P, Ramsden DA. Ku is a 5'-dRP/AP lyase that excises nucleotide damage near broken ends. Nature. 2010 Apr 22;464(7292):1214-7.

Link to all pubs

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