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Travis Stracker: “We want to understand how genomic instability causes diseases such as cancer”



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The video series Meet Our Scientists presents Travis Stracker, head of the Genomic Instability and Cancer lab at IRB Barcelona.

The video “Maintaining stability of the genome” highlights the research underway to unravel how cells prevent genomic instability.

The research performed by biologist Travis Stracker (Cleveland, OH, USA, 1974), head of the Genomic Instability and Cancer lab at IRB Barcelona, focuses on understanding of how cells prevent the accumulation of genomic instability.

This instability is caused by the accumulation of unrepaired mutations and errors in chromosomes. DNA damage occurs during each cell division or through exposure to exogenous agents, such as solar radiation, and chemical substances, such as tobacco smoke.

Stracker studies how cells prevent the accumulation of genomic instability by identifying the basic mechanisms that maintain the genome: “We have a genome consisting of millions of base pairs and it’s so delicate and susceptible: one mistake in the wrong place can have severe consequences.

In addition, his team studies how genomic instability influences cancer and rare diseases such as microcephaly. Stracker believes that his findings may be able to help provide patients with better treatments in the future.

Creativity, music and science

Barcelona is a great place in which to do research, says the scientist, who is very happy to be living in a city that inspires creativity. In this regard, he thinks that there are parallels between music and science, saying “in both we have to work well as a team, depending on the individual talents of each of the group members, and we have to use creativity and improvisation in order to tackle challenging questions”.

Stracker shows the music tapes that his friends have given him over the years that reflect how far technology has progressed. “I look forward to seeing what the next 25 years bring in terms of technological development”, he says.

"Meet Our Scientists" is a series of short videos that presents the group leaders at IRB Barcelona. The videos seek to showcase the vision, passion, character and talent of the scientists working at the centre, as well as to disseminate biomedical research.

This video has been supported by the Spanish Foundation of Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.



About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).