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Garrison Hall North, Second Floor

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Rebecca C Burgess , Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences | Fine School of the Sciences
Rebecca Burgess
Office Hours
  • Monday and Wednesday 11 am - Noon 
  • Thursday 3 pm- 4 pm
  • or by appointment
Office Location
  • Kevin J. Manning Academic Center
  • Room N 109
  • Owings Mills North Campus
  • Lab location: N137/N138
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Learn More
For more information, please visit my website:  


  • Ph.D., Genetics and Development, Columbia University in the City of New York  (2009)
  • M. Phil., Biological Sciences, Columbia University in the City of New York (2005)
  • M. A., Biological Sciences, Columbia University in the City of New York (2004)
  • Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, Cornell University (2002).      

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor Biology
  • 2015-present
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression, Cell Biology of Genomes Group
  • 2009 – 2015
  • Research Instructor
  • 2014
  • Adjunct Faculty
  • 2012


The DNA in each cell in our bodies is damaged thousands of times every day and failure to properly repair this DNA damage allows mutations to accumulate, which can lead to cancer and aging. My lab uses the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism for studying eukaryotic DNA break repair, since repair pathways are highly conserved from yeast to humans. Our research projects aim to understand how cells respond to and repair DNA damage using a combination of genetics, cell-based assays and live-cell fluorescent microscopy.


  • Burgess, R.C., and Misteli, T. Not all DDRs are created equal: non-canonical DNA damage responses. Cell, 2015, August 27; 162(5):944-947.  doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.08.006.
  • Burgess, R.C., Burman, B., Kruhlak, M.J., and Misteli, T.  Activation of DNA damage response signaling by condensed chromatin. Cell Reports, 2014, Dec 11; 9(5): 1703-17. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.060.
  • Roukos, V., Burgess, R.C., and Misteli, T. Generation of cell-based systems to visualize chromosome damage and translocations in living cells. Nature Protocols, 2014 Oct 9(10):2476-2492. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2014.167. Epub 2014 Sep 25.
  • Dittmer, T.A., Sahni, N., Kubben, N., Hill, D.E., Vidal, M., Burgess, R.C., Roukos, V., and Misteli, T. Systematic identification of pathological lamin A interactors.
  • Mol Biol Cell. 2014 May 25(9):1493-510.  doi: 10.1091/mbc.E14-02-0733
  • Burgess, R.C., Sebesta, M., Sisakova, A., Marini, V., Lisby, M., Damborsky, J., Klein, H., Rothstein, R., and Krejci, L. The PCNA interaction protein box sequence in Rad54 is an integral part of its ATPase domain and is required for efficient DNA repair and recombination. PLoS One, 2013 Dec 20;8(12):e82630. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082630.
  • Burgess, R.C., Misteli, T., Oberdoerffer, P.  DNA damage, chromatin, and transcription: the trinity of aging.  Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 2012 Dec 24(6):724-30. doi: 10.1016/
  • Bernstein, K.A., Reid, R.J.D., Sunjevaric, I., Demuth, K., Burgess, R.C., Rothstein, R. The Shu complex, which contains Rad51 paralogues, promotes DNA repair through inhibition of the Srs2 anti-recombinase. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2011 May 1; 22(9): 1599-607. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-08-0691.
  • Burgess, R.C., Lisby, M., Krejci, L., Sung, P., and Rothstein, R.  Localization of recombination proteins and Srs2 reveals anti-recombinase function in vivo. Journal of Cell Biology, 2009 Jun 15; 185(6):969-81. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200810055.
  • Bernstein, K.A., Shor, E., Sunjevaric, I., Burgess, R.C., Fumasoni, M., Foiani, M., Branzei, D., Rothstein, R.  Sgs1 function in the repair of  DNA replication  intermediates is separable from its role in homologous recombinational repair. EMBO Journal, 2009 Apr 8; 28(7):915-25. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.28.
  • Matulova, P., Marini, V., Burgess, R.C., Sisakova, A., Kwon, Y., Rothstein, R., Sung, P., and Krejci, L. Co-operativity of Mus81-Mms4 with Rad54 in the resolution of recombination and replication intermediates. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2009 Mar 20; 284(12):7733-45. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M806192200.
  • Burgess, R. C., Rahman, S., Lisby, M., Rothstein, R. and Zhao, X.  The Slx5/8 complex affects sumoylation of DNA repair proteins and negatively regulates recombination. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2007 Sep; 27(17): 6153-62.
  • Lisby, M., Barlow, J.H., Burgess, R.C., and Rothstein, R. Choreography of the DNA damage response:  spatiotemporal relationships among checkpoint and repair proteins.  Cell, 2004 Sep; 118(6):699-713.
  • Cen, B., Selvaraj, A., Burgess, R.C., Hitzler, J.K., Ma, Z., Morris, S.W. and Prywes, R. Megakaryoblastic Leukemia-1, a potent transcriptional coactivator for Serum Response Factor, is required for serum induction of SRF target genes.  Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2003 Sep; 23: 6597-6608.


BIO 203, Microbiology

BIO 310, Cell Biology

BIO 330, Molecular Genetics

BIO 365, Independent Research in Biology


Aging, Molecularly, NIH Catalyst, Vol 22, Issue 1, Jan-Feb 2014.

Breast is still Best: Infant Dietary Guidelines get an Update for the 21st Century, NIH Catalyst, Vol 22, Issue 1, Jan-Feb 2014.

In Her Image. Sandhya Panch Named First Sloand Fellow, NIH Catalyst, Vol 22, Issue 6, Nov-Dec 2014.

No Footprints? NIH Scientists Discover Possible Flaw in an ENCODE Trusted Technique. Cover article, NIH Catalyst, Volume 23, Issue 2, March-April 2015.

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