UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Kara Bernstein, PhD

Kara Bernstein
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics


Contact Information

Contact Information

5117 Centre Avenue
UPCI Research Pavilion Lab 2.35
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-623-3227
Email: bernsteink@upmc.edu
Fax: 412-623-1010

Administrative Assistant
Name: Laurice Vance-Carr
Phone: 412-623-1118
Email: vancela@upmc.edu

Research Keywords

Research Keywords

DNA repair, DNA recombination, DNA replication, double-strand break repair, Shu complex, Rad51 paralogs, breast and ovarian cancers

Research Summary

Research Summary

My work is to determine what genetic factors make some people more likely to develop cancer, particularly breast and ovarian cancers. The genes that we study are important for fixing damage to DNA. If these genes are not operating properly and DNA damage is uncorrected, cancer may develop. DNA damage can be caused by our bodies themselves or from outside sources such as chemicals found in the environment. We are working to better predict who is likely to get cancer by understanding both people’s genes and their environmental exposures. By doing so, we aim to create new tailored strategies for treating people's tumors and ultimately prevent patients from developing breast and ovarian cancers at all.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

  • Kondrashova, O., Nguyen, M., Shield-Artin , K., Tinker, A.V., Teng, N., Harrell, M.I., Kuiper, M.J., Ho, G.Y., Barker, H., Jasin, M., Prakash R., Kass, E.M., Sullivan, M.R., Brunette, G.J., Bernstein, K.A., Coleman, R.L., Floquet, A., Friedlander, M., Kichenadasse G., O'Malley, D.M., Oza, A., Sun, J., Robillard, L., Maloney ,L., AOCS Study Group, Giordano, H., Wakefield, M.J., Kaufmann, S.H., Simmons, A.D., Harding, T.C., Raponi, M., McNeish, I.A., Swisher, E.M., Lin, K.K., Scott, C.L. (2017) Secondary somatic mutations restoring RAD51C and RAD51D associated with acquired resistance to the PARP inhibitor rucaparib in high-grade ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Discovery, 7(9): 984-998. *Featured on Cover PubMed Link
  • Kong, M., Liu, L., Chen, X., Driscoll, K.I., Mao, P., Böhm, S., Kad, N.M., Watkins, S., Bernstein, K.A., Wyrick, J.J., Min, J.H., Van Houten, B. (2016) Single-molecule imaging reveals that Rad4 employs a dynamic DNA damage recognition process, Molecular Cell, 64(2): 376-387 PubMed Link
  • Godin, S.K., Zhang, Z., Herken, B.W., Westmoreland, J.W., Lee, A.G., Mihalevic, M.J., Yu, Z., Sobol, R.W., Resnick, M.A., Bernstein, K.A. (2016) The Shu complex promotes error-free tolerance of alkylation-induced base excision repair products, Nucleic Acids Research, 44(17): 8199-8215. PubMed Link
  • Gaines, W., Godin, S.K., Kabbinavar, F.F., VanDemark, A.P., Sung, P.*, Bernstein, K.A.* (2015) Promotion of presynaptic filament assembly by the ensemble of S. cerevisiae Rad51 paralogs with Rad52, *Co-corresponding, Nature Communications, 28(6): 7834. *Interviewed on Pittsburgh’s National Public Radio PubMed Link
  • Godin, S.K., Bratton-Palmer, D.S., Hornack, C., Mihalevic, M.J., Yoshida, K., Sullivan, M., Clark, N.L.*, Bernstein, K.A.* (2015) Evolutionary and functional analysis of the invariant SWIM domain in the conserved Shu2/SWS1 protein family from Saccharomyces cerevisiae to Homo sapiens. *Joint corresponding, Genetics, 199(4): 1023-1033. *Issue highlight *Featured on Saccharomyces Genome Database as Top News Story PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A., Mimitou, E.P., Mihalevic, M.J., Chen, H., Sunjaveric, I., Symington, L.S., Rothstein R. (2013) Resection activity of the Sgs1 helicase alters the affinity of DNA ends for homologous recombination proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Genetics, In press. PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A., Juanchich, A., Sunjevaric, I., Rothstein, R. (2013) The Shu complex regulates Rad52 localization during rDNA repair, DNA Repair, 12(9): 786-790. PubMed Link
  • Godin, S., Wier, A., Kabbinavar, F., Bratton-Palmer, D.S., Ghodke, H., Van Houten, B., VanDemark, A.P., and Bernstein, K.A. (2013) The Shu complex interacts with Rad51 through the Rad51 paralogues Rad55-Rad57 to mediate error-free recombination. Nucleic Acids Research, 41(8): 4525-4534. PubMed Link
  • Karpenshif, Y. and Bernstein, K.A. (2012) From yeast to mammals: recent advances in genetic control of homologous recombination. DNA Repair, 11(10): 781-788. PubMed Link
  • Robert, R., Vanoli, F., Chiolo, I., Shubassi, G., Bernstein, K.A., Rothstein, R., Botrugno, O.A., Parazzoli, D., Oldani, A., Miunuccci, S., Foiani, M. (2011) HDACs link the DNA damage response, processing of double-strand breaks and autophagy. Nature, 471(7336): 74-79. PubMed Link

See all pubs (Pubmed)

Collaborations

Collaborations

Current Internal Collaborators

Nathan Clark, PhD
Assistant Professor of Computational and Systems Biology

Li Lan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Member - Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program (MCCBP)

Roderick O'Sullivan, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
Member - Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program (MCCBP)

Bennett Van Houten, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology
Co-Leader - Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program (MCCBP)

Andrew VanDemark, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Affiliated Graduate Programs

Affiliated Graduate Programs

  • Molecular Genetics & Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Pharmacology

Department Website

Lab Website









Last modified: 7/12/18