Archived News

November 4, 2019
Our paper showing that Drosophila PIF1 is important for double-strand break repair and replication fork protection was published today in Genetics. Many people contributed to this work, including undergraduates Ece Kocak, Alexandra Nemeth, and Catherine Coughlin, postdoc Sarah Dykstra, and graduate student Kasey Rodgers.

May 19, 2019
Two members of our lab family, Elise and Arpita, graduated from Tufts today. Off they fly!

April 19, 2019
Congratulations to Serra Muftu on her selection as a Laidlaw Fellow and Sofia Lombana for receiving a VERSE Scholar award. Both will use their awards to investigate the mysteries of genome instability in our lab this summer.

March 12, 2019
Sarah Shnayder was named as a Beckman Scholar today. She will collaborate with Dr. Jim Crott at the HNRCA and Dr. Michael Malamy at the Sackler School to investigate the effects of the microbiome on inflammaging in Drosophila.

September 24, 2018
Tokio and Mitch traveled to Leiden to present their findings on Drosophila REV1 at the DNA Polymerases conference. Great city, great hosts, and great science!

July 9, 2018
Terrence and Mai presented their research this week at the FASEB Dynamic DNA Structures conference. They also shut down the bar…every night.

June 27, 2018
The McVey lab joined the Twitterverse today. Follow us @mcveylab to learn more cool things that happen in the lab and in the world of science.

May 29, 2018
Three of the lab’s talented undergraduates have received scholarships to support their research this summer: Sarah Shnayder is a Tufts Summer Scholar, Keya Viswanathan is a Laidlaw Fellow, and Serra Muftu is an REU scholar.

May 20, 2018
Congratulations to Jane, Juan, Jake, and Stephen on their graduation from Tufts today. Good luck with your future adventures…

April 30/May 2, 2018
Jane and Juan became the lab’s newest undergraduates to earn impressive honors for their senior theses. A potent one-two punch!

April 15, 2018
The J team (Justin, Jane, and Juan) presented their research at the Drosophila Research Conference in Philly. Cheesesteak eating was optional…

December 4, 2017
Taylor became the Master today by delivering a crystal-clear talk about her efforts to use whole genome sequencing to identify spontaneous and induced mutations in DNA repair genes. Following Varandt’s lead, she’ll be taking her bioinformatics skills out West soon.

November 7, 2017
Our latest installment about MMEJ and how secondary structure forming sequences may impact end-joining repair was published today in NAR. Many thanks to the lab of Steve Roberts at WSU for their help with the bioinformatics!

July 28, 2017
Varandt wowed his audience with a superb Ph.D. thesis defense today. He will be moving to the West Coast to continue his studies in the Chiolo lab at USC.

July 1, 2017
The lab received a grant from the NSF today to continue its studies on polymerase theta and alternative end joining. Three more years!

May 23, 2017
Congratulations to Gina, Hanna, Natalie, and Dave on their graduation from Tufts today!

May 12, 2017
Our story about Pol theta and its domain-specific roles in ICL repair and alternative end joining was accepted today by PLoS Genetics. Kudos to Kelly, Alice, Robin, Nikolai, and Amy, and thanks to the Scharer and Wood labs for their invaluable contributions with the biochemistry.

May 1, 2017
Gina Tomarchio earned Highest Thesis Honors today for her independent research investigating how Rev1 promotes tolerance to alkylating agents in Drosophila. Truly REVolutionary…

March 27, 2017
Felicitaciones to Jane Blackmer, who was named a Tufts Summer Scholar, and to Juan Castaneda, who was awarded the Carpenter Fellowship. Both will be continuing their research in the lab this summer.

December 1, 2016
Varandt's review about the involvement of various polymerases in homologous recombination repair was just published in the Annual Review of Genetics. The review was a fun joint effort between our lab and Wolf Heyer's lab at UC-Davis.

November 14, 2016
Kelly's paper showing that Pol theta repairs DNA breaks that accumulate during gene amplification in follicle cells was published today. This was a great collaboration with Jessica Alexander and Terry Orr-Weaver at MIT.

June 17, 2016
Hearty congratulations to Dr. Kelly Beagan, who successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis about Pol theta today. The celebration with her outside examiner, Dr. Rick Wood, was well-earned!

May 22, 2016
Five senior undergraduates from the lab walked across the graduation stage today. Best wishes and bright futures for Catie, Ece, Alex, Noa, and Connor. Keep in touch!

May 2, 2016
Catie Donlon earned Highest Thesis Honors for her independent research describing how the drug sertraline affects Drosophila development.

April 26, 2016
Alex Schmidt earned Highest Thesis Honors for his research investigating how the SPHRH protein influences repair of chemically-induced DNA damage in Drosophila.

October 19, 2015
Kelly's review about DNA polymerase theta was accepted by CMLS today. There's a lot of interest in this protein right now—stay tuned...

August 5, 2015
Kasey finished off her M.S. degree in style with a rousing defense of her Pif1 studies today. Her mom was present at the celebration and is happy that Kasey will be returning to sunny California!

May 20, 2015
Kasey's review on error-prone double-strand break repair was accepted for publication in the Journal of Cellular Physiology. It's an overview of recent papers which describe the mechanisms by which mutations arise during alternative end-joining and homologous recombination.

April 30, 2015
Julie defended her senior thesis and garnered Highest Honors today. She handled the committee's tough questions without breaking a sweat.

March 30, 2015
Gina Tomarchio was named a Tufts 2015 Summer Scholar! She will continue her investigations this summer on domain-specific functions of DNA polymerase theta.

March 7, 2015
Julie Cox presented her research on the roles of DNA helicases in homologous recombination today. She is the first student from the lab to give a talk at the Undergraduate Symposium at the Fly Conference. She celebrated with some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza…

December 12, 2014
Varandt was awarded a Tufts Graduate Student Research Award for his work on Drosophila Rev1. Congrats Varandt!

April 24, 2014
Robin Armstrong and Connor Clairmont earned highest thesis honors for their senior honors thesis presentations this week. Robin will be enrolling in a Ph.D. program at UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and Connor will be starting a PhD program at Harvard. Both have promised to return for lab laser tag outings.

April 9, 2014
The lab was awarded a 5-year NIH Program Project Grant titled "Mutations Arising during DNA Repair," with the Haber, Lovett, Freudenreich, and Mirkin labs. This project will investigate the basic mechanisms by which DNA replication and repair lead to genome instability and mutagenesis. Our lab is focusing on ways that homologous recombination repair at double-strand breaks leads to mutations, particularly at repeated sequences.

March 30, 2014
Elyse Bolterstein, Rachel Rivero, and Melissa Marquez had their paper accepted today at Genetics. It describes a novel function for Drosophila WRNexo in dealing with replication stress and suggests that WRNexo and BLM may work together in flies to process stalled replication forks.

March 28, 2014
Kudos to Julie Cox, who is the recipient of a Tufts Summer Scholar fellowship to do research in the lab this summer, and Robin Armstrong, who was awarded the Thomas Harrison Carmichael and Emily Leonard Carmichael Prize for her research on Drosophila PolQ.

March 7, 2014
Hearty congratulations to TEACRS fellow Elyse Bolterstein, who has accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Biology Department at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, starting in the fall of 2014. Let's hope her flies can grow accustomed to the other Windy City...

October 25, 2013
Kelly Beagan was named a winner of the Graduate Student Research Competition and will receive additional funding for her project investigating novel roles of DNA polymerase theta. Nice work, Kelly!

July 11, 2013
Congratulations to Dr. Adam Thomas, who defended his Ph.D. thesis today and entertained his audience with a captivating tale of his quest to find the scpt gene. Adam will continue his scientific odyssey as a postdoc in Dr. Ying Zhang's lab at the National Cancer Institute.

April 26, 2013
Anna Dukhovich successfully defended her senior honors thesis, a tour de force which melded polymerase theta biology with embryogenesis and RNA interference. She will be moving on down the road to Tufts Medical School in the fall.

April 5, 2013
Update on undergraduate awards: Connor Clairmont received a Carpenter Fellowship and Robin Armstrong was named a Tufts Summer Scholar. These prestigious awards will support their independent research in the lab this summer.

February 11, 2013
Anna Dukhovich has been awarded a Thomas Harrison Carmichael and Emily Leonard Carmichael Prize Scholarship in Biology, in recognition of her research about DNA polymerase theta.

November 7 , 2012
Adam's paper about common mutations in the cytochrome P450 gene Cyp6d2 was accepted to G3 (Genes, Genomes, and Genetics) today. It's a great story about two common mutations in multiple Bloomington stocks and how these mutations synergize with mutations in the BRCA2 repair gene to cause extreme sensitivity to camptothecin.

September 26, 2012
The lab has relocated! Our new space at 200 Boston Avenue, as part of the Collaborative Cluster in Development and Genome Patterning, is gorgeous (and much bigger than our old lab). All visitors are now welcome, but beware the fly room with the self-locking antechamber...

March 30, 2012
More props for current and former lab members: Carrie Hui has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at the Tufts Sackler School, Amy Baker was awarded an NSF pre-doctoral fellowship, Varandt Khodaverdian received honorable mention for said fellowship, and Anna Dukhovich has been named a 2012 Summer Scholar.

March 16, 2012
Time for more celebration cake! Dr. Dan Kane successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis today. His public defense was attended by family and friends and rumor has it that his performance may have garnered him an Oscar nomination.

March 4, 2012
Dan's finding that translesion polymerases play a big role during homologous recombination repair will be published soon in PLoS Genetics. Now maybe he can finally provide an answer to Amy Yu's question: "So Dan, which polymerase is it?"

December 19, 2011
Genome Biology published our collaborative paper showing that Blm mutants have increased frequencies of genome rearrangements and tumorigenesis. Interestingly, these increases don't require DNA ligase IV, providing more evidence that alternative end joining may correlate with cancer development and/or progression.

December 13, 2011
Kelly emerged from her thesis proposal defense with all limbs intact. She has now proven to her committee that she has something to do in graduate school. Last part of the 3-step program to graduate school success: actually doing it!

September 1, 2011
The lab got its first R01 grant today from NIGMS. This grant will fund our studies of proteins involved in error-prone repair of DNA double-strand breaks and how the resulting mutations can lead to tumorigenesis in flies.

April 28, 2011
Amy Baker gave a rousing defense of her senior honors thesis today. Next stop for Amy junior? A Ph.D. program at Dartmouth. We'll certainly miss her talking muffin jokes... good luck Amy!

March 30, 2011
Victoria Mak has been named a 2011 Summer Scholar. She'll use the funding to investigate the role of the Ku proteins in alternative end joining.

March 21, 2011
Introducing....Dr. Amy Yu! Amy successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis today. For an encore presentation, Amy will be staying on the Red Line, moving to Leona Samson's lab at MIT for a postdoctoral fellowship beginning this summer.

December 3, 2010
Dan received a DeLill Nasser Career Development Award from the Genetics Society of America. He's already agreed not to use the award to support his "one-flug-a-day" habit, for which he is currently receiving treatment.

September 24, 2010
A big day in the lab! We just learned that the American Cancer Society will fund our investigations into the mechanisms by which error-prone polymerases promote DNA double-strand break repair. Thanks to everyone who has ever participated in a fundraising event for the ACS.

May 11, 2010

Bena and Amy's paper describing several important roles of translesion DNA polymerase theta in alternative end joining was accepted to PLoS Genetics today. This fascinating protein appears to be central to many types of DNA repair in fruit flies—now comes the challenge of figuring out exactly what it's doing! Read the press release that accompanied the article.

April 30, 2010
Michael defended his senior honors thesis titled "Characterization of the role of Drosophila melanogaster Pol32 in homologous recombination and DNA repair." Of course, Darwin, the lab mascot/demigod, was in attendance as he received highest thesis honors.

April 27, 2010
Amy's paper proposing a new model for alternative end joining was accepted today at Nucleic Acids Research. The model, aptly named "SD-MMEJ" (for synthesis-dependent microhomology-mediated end joining), postulates that local DNA sequence context flanking a break site may play a crucial role in the repair process. Feedback on this model is most certainly welcome.

March 28 , 2010
Carrie Hui was named a 2010 Summer Scholar and will use her award to further her studies on the mysterious Trf4 proteins in Drosophila.

March 4, 2010
It's official: Adam is now a Ph.D. candidate, after successfully defending his thesis research proposal today. No backing out now...

March 1, 2010
More props for the undergrads: Amy Baker was named this year's Biology department recipient of the Paula Frazier Poskitt Scholarship, which will support her as she works on her Senior Honors Thesis project. Michael won the Class of 1898 Prize, which recognizes his high scholarly ability.

January 4, 2010
How many ways are there to repair an interstrand crosslink? What can slime molds tell us about this type of repair? For answers to these questions and more, check out a review by Mitch published in a special crosslink repair issue of Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis.

August 17, 2009
Alice and Dan's paper describing the use of DmBlm mutants in imprecise transposon excision screens was accepted at Genetics. Because one of the Minos transposons that Alice excised was located in a gene named Tequila, the possibilities for celebratory activities were pretty obvious. The work will also be highlighted in the April 2010 edition of Fly.

May 5, 2009
Bena defended her senior honors thesis titled "Involvement of DNA polymerase theta in alternative end-joining repair of DNA double-strand breaks in Drosophila melanogaster." She knew things were going well when her committee members started excitedly discussing models halfway through the presentation. Highest honors to Bena!

May 1, 2009
Dan was presented with an award from the Tufts Graduate Student Council for his outstanding achievements to undergraduate education. He's currently building a new trophy case for his growing collection.

April 29, 2009
Adam Thomas switched to the Ph.D. program, in spite of the multiple Ph.D. comic strips that Mitch posted around the lab. Welcome to the dark side, Adam.

April 3, 2009
Amy Baker was named a 2009 Summer Scholar and will delve into the mysteries of alternative end joining, together with Amy Yu, this summer. Perhaps we'll start calling them the 'A team?'

March 25, 2009
Amy Yu received a travel scholarship from the American Society for Microbiology to present her research at the 3rd ASM conference on DNA Repair and Mutagenesis in Whistler, Canada. Thanks to the ASM for supporting international collaboration!

March 15, 2009
Bena has been accepted to the Biology graduate program at M.I.T., where she will continue her studies next fall. This means that she'll still be able to attend the lab parties once she graduates. Congrats, Bena!

December 16, 2008
Two big events today. Amy Yu was awarded a travel scholarship from the Keystone Symposia to present her research on alternative end joining repair of DNA double-strand breaks in Drosophila. You can hear about her research in Taos, New Mexico at the Genome Instability and DNA repair conference. Also today, Dan successfully defended his thesis research proposal, ensuring many more happy days with the flies.

November 5, 2008
Karina presented the results from her REU summer program research at the 2008 ABRCMS conference in Orlando today. Her reward involved visits to several Orlando tourist attractions.

September 21, 2008
Want to know more about alternative end joining repair of DNA double-strand breaks? Check out a review about microhomology-mediated end joining that Mitch co-authored with Sang Eun Lee, published today in Trends in Genetics.

April 30, 2008
Camille successfully defended her senior honors thesis titled "The role of ligase III in DNA double-strand break repair in Drosophila melanogaster" and received high honors. She will soon be relocating to the other coast to take a position in Ophir Klein's lab at UCSF. Congrats, Camille!

April 25, 2008
More honors: Bena was awarded the R.M. Karapetoff Cobb Chemistry Fund Prize and the Thomas Harrison & Emily Leonard Carmichael Prize Scholarship, both of which recognize significant academic achievement.

April 3, 2008
Two lab members received honors today. Dan received Honorable Mention for his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Application. Bena was named a 2008 Tufts Summer Scholar and will use her award this summer to conduct research for her senior thesis. Kudos to both Bena and Dan!

February 26, 2008
Amy successfully defended her thesis research proposal today, making her an official Ph.D. candidate. Onward to the thesis!

February 13, 2008
Amy and Dan presented results of their research at the Keystone Conference on DNA Replication and Recombination. Dan took many thought-provoking questions after his talk, and Amy endured a 3 hour marathon poster session.

January 25, 2008
Alice, Dan, and Adam won first and second prize in Kimtech's "Love That Glove" video contest . Their masterpieces can be viewed here ("Looking for Love in a Glove" and "Training the New Guy"). We're still waiting for the Golden Globe nominations...

November 10, 2007
Camille won a prize for her ABRCMS poster titled "The role of ligase III in DNA double-strand break repair in Drosophila." Unfortunately, she and Endry were unable to find a mechanical bull for their post-conference celebration.

September 28, 2007
Camille and Endry received travel awards to present their research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in November in Austin. Onward to the Longhorn State!

July 30, 2007

The major research projects in the lab are now funded by a National Science Foundation's CAREER award. The grant supports investigations into the "Interactions Between Error-Prone and Error-Free DNA Double-Strand Break Repair Pathways in Drosophila Melanogaster."

April 6, 2007
The McVey lab First Distinguished Quote Hunt was held. All quotes were accounted for (together with lots of candy).

October 27, 2006
Amy was awarded a Graduate Student Research Award for her project, "Effect of DNA ligase 4 on cell death after chromosome breakage."

September 10, 2006
Adam got married today! The biology department celebrated his union by decorating his lab bench. He's decided to keep the decorations for good experimental karma (see picture).

July 1, 2006
The lab received its first outside grant today. The Ellison Medical Foundation has awarded us a New Scholar in Aging grant to study the prevalence and mechanisms of error-prone end-joining repair in Drosophila as they age.