David Pellman (Harvard Medical School)

David Pellman (Harvard Medical School)

Butler Seminar Series

Event Date/Location

December 13, 2017 - 12:00 pm
Thomas Laboratory 003


  • Picture of seminar speaker David Pellman

    David Pellman, M.D.

    Professor of Pediatric Oncology& Cell Biology,
    HHMI Investigator
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School

    Dr. Pellman comes from a class of medical students who were bitten by the basic research bug early and never recovered. He went to medical school at the University of Chicago and at the same time studied cancer genes in Hidesaburo Hanafusa's laboratory at the Rockefeller University. He then moved to Boston where he shuffled from a clinical residency at Children's Hospital to a research fellowship doing cell division and yeast genetics research in Gerald Fink's lab at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. That post was followed by an oncology fellowship back at Children's and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which was followed by another stint with the yeast in Fink's lab. Dr. Pellman enjoyed both worlds but was continually drawn to the lab because of the frustrating lack of effective treatments in the clinic.

    Dr. Pellman kept on with the yeast. He took a joint faculty appointment at Children's and Dana-Farber, pursuing a dual career as clinician–basic researcher until his yeast studies finally won out. The success of his lab, new appointments at Harvard Medical School, publication of high-interest papers, and now being named an HHMI investigator, all have carried Pellman into full-time lab research.


Job’s dilemma for the genome: Why bad things happen to good chromosomes

I will discuss our recent work to define mechanisms that generate rapid genome evolution, emphasizing work relevant to complex cancer genomes. I will focus on understanding mutational processes known as chromothripsis and chromosome breakage-fusion-bridge cycles. We are approaching these problems using reconstitution in Xenopus egg extracts and using a combination of live-cell imaging and single cell genomics that we call "Look-Seq".


Free and open to the university community and the public.


Ginger Zakian, Department of Molecular Biology