Weihang "Valerie" Chai,  PhD

Professor, Cancer Biology


CBCC 236
Office:  708-327-3298

Laboratory website:

Research Focus Areas

  • Genomic stability, DNA replication and repair
  • Telomere maintenance
  • Carcinogenesis

Genome instability is a hallmark of cancer. Faithful DNA replication is important for preventing detrimental replication errors and maintaining genome integrity. DNA replication frequently encounters obstacles arising from both cellular metabolic processes and environmental sources that slow or stall replication forks, which disrupts proper progression of replication and threatens genome stability. To protect genome integrity, cells have evolved a panoply of mechanisms to suppress replication fork stalling and rescue stalled replication. Understanding these mechanisms is important for understanding early events in carcinogenesis. In addition, recent research has revealed that targeting replication in tumor cells may offer a promising cancer therapeutic approach, in particular for treating cancers harboring mutations in DNA repair genes. The Chai Lab integrates next-gen sequencing, molecular biology, cellular imaging methods, as well as in vivo animal models to understand the molecular mechanisms for protecting genome stability under replication stress.  Our research will facilitate the development of more targeted and effective cancer therapy.

Training Opportunities in the Chai Lab:

Students, fellows or residents who join Dr. Chai’s lab can expect to receive trainings in molecular (including next-gen sequencing), cell biology, advanced fluorescence microscopy, chromosome stability, protein-protein interactions, cytogenetics, protein-DNA interaction, and protein function. They will also gain a broad knowledge of how genome instabilities caused by defective DNA repair pathways and/or telomere dysfunction drive tumor formation.

Departmental Program:  Gene Regulation and Genome Maintenance

Education / Training:

PhD:   Cornell University, Ithaca, NY  USA

Weihang "Valerie" Chai Publication List