University of Miami >> Miller School of Medicine >> Office of Graduate Studies >> Faculty Research >> Faculty Research Detail

Richard S. Myers, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

(305) 243-2056 (office)

(305) 243-3065 (fax)

Curriculum Vitae
Ph.D. (1989) University of Illinois, Urbana
Honors and Professional Activities:
Genetics Society of America
American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
American Society for Microbiology

Research Interests
Homologous recombination generates genetic diversity, is required for the accurate segregation of chromosomes during meiosis and for repair of various types of DNA damage, particularly DNA strand breaks. Aberrant (unregulated) recombination events promote genome instability, genetic defects and cancer. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of recombination is central to our knowledge of genetic diseases. The Myers lab is determining how recombination is regulated to effect DNA damage repair without causing collateral genetic damage. In the Myers lab, and in collaboration with other labs at UM, the emerging knowledge of these mechanisms is being used to engineer genomes to understand biological processes as diverse as cancer, neurodevelopment, retroviral evolution, stem cell maintenance and to create human disease models.
Major Discoveries:
  • Discovered how chi recombination hotspot sequences activate recombinases for dsDNA break repair and homologous genetic recombination.
  • Determined that the mechanism of meiotic recombination causes recombination hotspots to be destroyed, leading to a meiotic ratchet that distorts recombination data and puts genomes at risk.
  • Discovered a large family of viral two-component SynExo Recombinases that employ a conserved recombination mechanism. This mechanism is now used in labs worldwide as the most efficient means of genome engineering and is called “Recombineering”.
  • Currently developing Recombineering tools for all organisms, including humans.

Recent Publications

1. Larrea AA, Pedroso IM, Malhotra A, Myers RS. Identification of two conserved aspartic acid residues required for DNA digestion by a novel thermophilic Exonuclease VII in Thermotoga maritima. Nucleic Acids Res. 36: 5992-6003. 2008

2. Thomason, L.C., Myers R.S., Oppenheim A.B., Costantino N., Sawitzke J.A., Datta S., Bubunenko M., Court D.L. Recombineering in Prokaryotes. In: Phages: Their Role in Bacterial Pathogenesis and Biotechnology; Ed. M.W. Waldor, D.I. Friedman, S.L. Adhaya, ASM Press; p. 383-399. 2005

3. Reuven N.B., Staire A.E., Myers R.S., Weller S.K., The Herpes Simplex Virus-1 Alkaline Nuclease and Single-strand DNA binding Protein Mediate Strand Exchange in vitro. J. Virol. 77:7425-7433, 2003.

4. Vellani T.S., Myers R.S., Bacteriophage SPP1 Chu is an alkaline exonuclease in the Red family of viral two-component recombinases. J. Bacteriol. 185:2465-2474, 2003.

5. Subramanian K., Rutvisuttinunt W., Scott W., Myers R.S., The enzymatic basis of processivity in lambda exonuclease. Nucleic Acids Res. 31:1585-1596, 2003.


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