McMaster University


McMaster University


Faculty Member of the Month



Sara Andres

Dr. Andres’ interest in biochemistry was first peaked in high school when learning about cell metabolism. She was intrigued by the detailed mechanisms necessary for sustaining life that occurred at the molecular level. This led to Dr. Andres pursuing a degree in biochemistry from the University of Guelph. When considering graduate school, Dr. Andres went on a tour of the x-ray crystallography facility at McMaster University and upon seeing the electron density of a protein, she knew that structural biology was her future. She completed her PhD in the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, studying mechanisms of DNA repair and x-ray crystallography, before continuing her postdoctoral work at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. There she continued studying different DNA repair pathways and extending her skills in structural biology to include atomic force microscopy.

Now, as she approaches the end of her first year as a faculty member in BBS and a member of the IIDR, Dr. Andres has transferred her expertise in structural biology and DNA repair to studying the mechanisms of DNA repair in bacteria, learning about the key interactions between critical proteins, which could serve as possible targets for new drugs in the battle against infectious diseases. Dr. Andres’ lab has been focusing on a DNA double-strand break repair pathway found in a number of bacteria that become dormant, making them difficult to eradicate. In the future, the lab will extend their focus to other DNA damage response and repair pathways that are critical to bacterial viability.

Highlights of the past year include collaborations that the Andres Lab has embarked upon with members of the McMaster research community, starting up the Structural Biology journal club with Dr. Whitney and Dr. Melacini, and the training of her first set of undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Andres looks forward to growing her lab here at McMaster and sharing in the exciting research developments and challenges from her research team.

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