Karim Mekhail

Canada Research Chair in Spatial Genome Organization

Tier 2 - 2011-01-01
Renewed: 2016-02-01
University of Toronto


Coming to Canada from

Harvard University

Research involves

Investigating how proteins found in yeast and human cells affect how DNA is organized.

Research relevance

This research will help prevent premature aging and numerous muscle diseases.

Tidying up DNA distribution to prevent disease

The way DNA is organized inside the nucleus of cells can protect our well-being much in the same way that the way furniture is arranged in a room can give a sense of balance to the people in it.

But when the “layout” of DNA is off, the disorganization can lead to serious health problems. Dr. Karim Mekhail, Canada Research Chair in Spatial Genome Organization, has found that certain proteins play a key role in DNA organization, and that mutations in these proteins lead to premature aging and various muscle diseases.

Looking at both yeast and human cells containing these proteins, Mekhail is now studying how the proteins protect DNA and keep people healthy.

He has already discovered how to suppress certain DNA sequences that compromise genome stability. Now, he and his team are doing research into the perfect order for DNA.

By identifying and charting ideal DNA distributions, Mekhail hopes to control the normal aging process and help prevent and cure such diseases as premature aging and muscular dystrophies.