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Penny Beuning

Penny Beuning


Mailing Address:

102 HT (Hurtig Hall), Boston, MA 02115


  • Chemical Biology and Biotechnology

The research in the Beuning laboratory encompasses the following areas:

We aim to determine how cells respond to DNA damage and maintain the accuracy of genetic information, by studying the specificity of DNA-damage bypass Y-family DNA polymerases for different types of damage, by probing interactions between DNA replication and DNA damage tolerance, and by determining the genes responsible for tolerance to specific DNA damaging agents. As part of this work, we aim to develop DNA damage tolerance enzymes and DNA repair proteins as tools for biotechnology applications.

We also seek to determine fundamental aspects of enzyme function that can be applied to protein engineering. This work, largely in collaboration with the Ondrechen laboratory, probes the roles of residues remote from the active site in enzyme function. This work focuses on a wide range of enzymes, from DNA polymerases to enzymes involved in the urea cycle and sugar metabolism. A second goal of this project is to determine the functions of enzymes of unknown function from structural genomics projects.

Penny Beuning in the news


The Coronavirus Might Have Weak Spots. Machine Learning Could Help Find Them.

What makes SARS-CoV-2 so infectious? The answer is in its proteins. Mary Jo Ondrechen and Penny Beuning, professors of chemistry and chemical biology, are using machine learning to investigate these proteins and begin to understand how to slow the spread of the virus.

Chemistry professor earns Young Investigator Award from ACS

by Emily Ashbolt, Biomedical Physics, 2017 For the past decade, Northeastern University Chemistry and Chemical Biology professor Penny Beuning has focused her research on cellular responses to DNA damage, specifically a family of DNA polymerases that deal with copying the damaged DNA. Her tireless work in this area of chemistry has earned her the Chemical Research […]

Probing Relationships between Protein Structure and Movement

Penny Beuning’s research is based on relationships. Proteins, DNA, RNA in a dance of scientific compatibility. A dance that affects life, the fight against disease and understanding how to create new chemical reactions. An associate professor in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern’s College of Science, Beuning’s groundbreaking efforts were documented recently in a paper published in “Structure.” In it, she detailed how various proteins might act in different situations…