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John LucchesiAsa Griggs Candler Professor Emeritus


  • A.B. (Biology/Chemistry), La Grange College, 1955
  • M.S. (Zoology/Genetics), University of Georgia, Athens, 1958
  • Ph.D. (Zoology/Genetics), University of California, Berkley, 1963

Research Area

  • Genetics, Cell, and Developmental Biology
  • Population Biology, Evolution, and Ecology

Graduate Program Affiliation

  • Biochemistry, Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution

Research Description

In cells, DNA is wrapped around nucleosomes (octamers of four 4 different histones). The association of DNA and nucleosomes is unfavorable to the process of transcription and must be modified in order for genes to be activated and for transcription to be initiated. The modifications that result in gene activation are the responsibility of large multi-protein complexes. But activating genes is not sufficient: once transcription has been initiated its rate must be regulated so that gene products are made at the appropriate level.

Using Drosophila, and human cell cultures, our laboratory has obtained evidence that this level of regulation is also carried out by multiprotein complexes that share many features with the complexes that initiate gene activity. One of our major experimental goals has been to study the targeting of one of these complexes to its sites of action. The other major goal is to understand its mechanism of action.

Research Lab Description

Chromatin is the complex of DNA and protein that makes up chromosomes. We study the chemical and structural changes that occur in chromatin in order to initiate and maintain gene expression.

Dr. Lucchesi retired in 2015.