On July 11, Dr. Vincenzo Costanzo (CDA 2013) gave a seminar to the Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Department at Harvard Medical School, as part of BCMP’s special seminar series.  He spoke on “Mechanisms of replication fork protection”, outlining recent research of his lab at the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan, where he directs the DNA Metabolism research program: http://www.ifom-ieo-campus.it/research/costanzo.php.  His current work focuses on the factors believed to be important for the resolution of DNA damage that occurs during DNA replication, and the faithful duplication of chromosome regions with complex or repetitive DNA sequences.  The approach used by the Costanzo lab allowed explication of the role that RAD51 plays in protecting replication forks, by preventing Mre11-mediated processing of nascent DNA.  These findings have been confirmed in mammalian cells by several other studies and have been linked to cancer cell survival and sensitivity to chemotherapy.  Dr. Costanzo’s work in Italy has built upon his post-doctoral work at Columbia University and then at Clare Hall Laboratories in London, at Cancer Research UK, where he worked with Tim Hunt, the 2001 Noble Prize winner.

The CDA@HMS lecture series brings Career Development Awardees to Harvard to report on their work in Italy and helps foster collaboration between the scientific talent supported by the Armenise-Harvard Foundation on both sides of the Atlantic.  Deep thanks go to Dr. Joe Loparo (who is a Foundation Junior Faculty Grantee) and other members of the Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Department, who warmly hosted Vincenzo Costanzo and made his visit to HMS so memorable.  While in Boston this July, Dr. Costanzo also participated in a panel presentation for the Friends of Italian Cultural Center Boston (FICCB) on “The New Old Age”, and was the faculty speaker at the GAHF Summer Fellows weekly seminar.

 Dr. Costanzo answers questions following his talk