Janelle Hare, PhD

Associate Professor

Biology & Chemistry Department

Morehead State University

Education and Postdoctoral Appointments

  • B.S. - Microbiology, The University of Iowa

  • B.A. - Biology, The University of Iowa

  • Ph.D. - Biomedical Sciences, SUNY Albany

Molecular Analyses of DNA Repair

A microbiologist whose main areas of scientific expertise are in bacteriology & molecular biology, Dr. Hare conducts research in the regulation & evolution of bacterial pathogenicity, and the genetic responses of bacteria to environmental stimuli.

Dr. Hare's NIH renewal grant is for a study to understand how cells respond to DNA damage. Extending our knowledge of the regulation and function of Y-family polymerases as well as their role in causing mutations in bacterial pathogens can shed light on how cell responses to DNA damage can result in various cancers in humans.

Dr. Hare's profile

In her own words

Just asking

Why did you choose to study a bacterium found in soil?

“The bacterium that I study, Acinetobacter baylyi strain ADP1, is considered a model organism for bacterial genetics and taking up DNA and being naturally transformable... it is very flexible metabolically. But, I also like to emphasize in my grants [and elsewhere]...that not everything is E. coli. And to understand the natural world better, we cannot restrict ourselves to E. coli. My organism is not one that lives in the gut of animals, it lives in the soil.

So the work that we do is based on hypotheses developing from E. coli studies, but every time we do a study in another species, we find some new and interesting twists on what our new bacteria can do.

I first started working on these bacteria when I was a post-doc researcher at Grinnel College, with Leslie Greg-Jolly, my mentor, and she had been working with Acinetobacter responses... She was working on one aspect of it, and I began veering off in my own direction...and found some interesting phenomena with my protein in response to DNA damage. When I got a faculty position I continued to work on that aspect of it,"

Has anything surprised you about the results of your study?

“When we started our first next-gen sequencing project, it was with ...Acinetobacter baylyi, that is not a pathogen. And we knew there were a few genes that were, indeed, regulated by DNA damage, and we wanted to know if this was a wide response throughout all of the cell, or if just one or two genes were involved. And we found that over 50 genes were changed in their usage pattern when that cell experienced DNA damage... A further wrinkle in our experiment involved looking at other genes that are responsible for certain genes to get involved. So the regulation was studied because, we not only did our experiments in normal, healthy cells, but also in two different mutant types of cells.

So if we mutate gene X, then what genes can be turned on by DNA damage? and if we mutate gene Y, can we still induce genes after DNA damage? And what we found was way more variation than we ever imagined... What we saw was every possible combination of regulation; requiring these regulators, not requiring these regulators, requiring one or the other... so that speaks to some additional levels of regulation and pathways...not present in E. coli. ... Every time you look at a new organism you are going to find some new observations.”