Meet a Student

Behailu Aklilu

Behailu Aklilu, Ph.D student, Genetics Behailu Aklilu


Thesis Advisor: Dr. Kevin Culligan

Research Topic: Functional Characterization of Replication Protein A (RPA) in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana 

 My research focuses on characterizing the role of plant Replication Protein A (RPA) in DNA replication, repair, and recombination. RPA is a single-stranded DNA(ssDNA) binding protein that plays a critical role in cellular DNA replication, but also in how cells respond to DNA damage. This cellular response to DNA damage is important in mutation avoidance that would otherwise result in genetically compromised cells, and in animals results in disease such as cancer. We employ Arabidopsis as a unique and powerful genetic model system to discover the molecular underpinnings of how cells detect DNA damage, and how this results in appropriate cellular decisions, thereby mitigating the negative effects of DNA damage.