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Savannah Conlon

Savannah Conlon



B.S. Chemistry, Minor in Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2017

From: Grass Valley, California

Joined David Lab: January 2018

Outside of lab: I enjoy long runs and skiing. You can catch me in the kitchen several nights a week because I love cooking!

Research in David Lab:

Oxidative damage to our DNA by endogenous or exogenous sources must be repaired to maintain the integrity of the genome. This type of damage is repaired via the base excision repair pathway, where glycosylases recognize and initiate repair. Specifically, I study the NEIL family of DNA glycosylases, which are required for the removal of oxidized bases from DNA. One of these enzymes, NEIL1, has been heavily characterized by our laboratory. NEIL1 has the ability to recognize and cleave a variety of oxidized lesions from differing DNA contexts. Previous work has shown that there are two wild type isoforms of this enzyme due to pre-mRNA editing by ADAR1. The two forms differ at one amino acid position, yielding either lysine or arginine at position 242 of the enzyme. Each form has different substrate preferences, some of which are shown below; therefore, it is of particular interest to investigate other differences between them. I am continuing to evaluate the intrinsic rate of glyosidic bond cleavage and the binding affinity of each form of NEIL1 on different lesions, and plan to continue this investigation with NEIL3. After seeing such a distinct difference between the two isoforms of NEIL1 in vitro, I am also interested in comparing repair initiated by each isoform in cellular assays.  I want to determine if the same trends that occur in vitro also exist in a cellular context. My hope is to further elucidate the cellular benefit of having two such isoforms.


Previous Research Experience:

I worked in Dr. Scott Lokey’s lab at UC Santa Cruz as an undergraduate, where I studied cyclic peptides inspired by natural products. Specifically, I worked on optimizing peptide macrocyclization by studying the effect of various reaction conditions. I aimed to help determine how to limit the unwanted oligomerization of peptides during cyclization.

RSS Science Daily News

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    After the Big Bang, the universe expanded and cooled sufficiently for hydrogen atoms to form. In the absence of light from the first stars and galaxies, the universe entered a period known as the cosmic dark ages. The first stars and galaxies appeared several hundred million years later and began burning away the hydrogen fog […]
  • First X-ray of a single atom May 31, 2023
    Scientists have taken the world's first X-ray SIGNAL (or SIGNATURE) of just one atom. This groundbreaking achievement could revolutionize the way scientists detect the materials.
  • NIRISS instrument on Webb maps an ultra-hot Jupiter's atmosphere May 31, 2023
    There's an intriguing exoplanet out there -- 400 light-years out there -- that is so tantalizing that astronomers have been studying it since its discovery in 2009. One orbit for WASP-18 b around its star that is slightly larger than our Sun takes just 23 hours. There is nothing like it in our Solar System. […]
  • Plants can distinguish when touch starts and stops, study suggests May 31, 2023
    Even without nerves, plants can sense when something touches them and when it lets go, a study has found. In a set of experiments, individual plant cells responded to the touch of a very fine glass rod by sending slow waves of calcium signals to other plant cells, and when that pressure was released, they sent […]
  • Saved from extinction, Southern California's Channel Island Foxes now face new threat to survival May 31, 2023
    Starting in the 1990s, Island Fox populations began to dwindle due to an outbreak of canine distemper and an increase in attacks by golden eagles. Some islands saw their population drop to as low as 15 individuals, but conservation efforts by the Federal government restored numbers by 2017. A new study reveals a worrying decrease […]


Dr. Sheila S. David

Department of Chemistry
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616