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  • Nicholas E. Burgis, PhD
    Nicholas E. Burgis, PhD
    Professor of Chemistry
    Patterson Hall, PAT 229M
    Phone: 509.359.7901
    Fax: 509.359.6973

    Dr. Burgis was trained in the fields of DNA repair and toxicology.  He earned his Ph.D. from The University at Albany, S.U.N.Y. and his post-doctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests focus on understanding certain aspects of nucleotide metabolism, toxicology and drug metabolism using biochemical techniques.  His lab is currently investigating the mechanism of substrate specificity and catalysis for the human ITPase enzyme. This enzyme is essential for life in mammals due to its ability to prevent abnormal or damaged DNA/RNA building blocks from being incorporated into nucleic acids. By studying the human ITPase, his lab aims to contribute to the fields of cardiovascular development, purine metabolism, cancer development, ageing and drug metabolism. Techniques used in this research program include molecular cloning, protein purification, biochemical assays (including enzyme kinetics), HPLC and drug sensitivity assays.  Dr. Burgis' research program has been supported by external grants from the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. The current project, entitled "Biochemistry and Modeling of Human ITPase Substrate Specificity Mutants," is in collaboration with Dr. Yao Houndonougbo and is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. He currently serves on the American Chemical Society Biochemistry Examination Committee and as an S-STEM advisor (Co-PI) on a National Science Foundation grant entitled "Increasing the Participation of First-generation and Underrepresented Students in the Sciences." 

    Selected publications:

    Gall, A.D., Gall, A, Heid, S. Mori, A., Aune, M., Moore, A.C., and Burgis, N.E.  (2013) Analysis of human ITPase nucleobase specificity by site-directed mutagenesis. Biochimie 95(9): 1711-1721.  

    Sipes, R.K., Xue, X., Lewis, B.S., and Burgis, N.E. (2012) Evidence that aberrant protein metabolism contributes to chemoresistance in multiple myeloma cells.  Oncology Reports 27(6): 2031-2038. 

    Pang, B., McFaline, J.L., Burgis, N.E., Dong, M., Taghizadeh, K., Sullivan, M.R., Elmquist, C.E., Cunningham, R.P., Dedon, P.C. (2012) Defects in purine nucleotide metabolism lead to substantial incorporation of xanthine and hypoxanthine into DNA and RNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(7):2319-24.  

    Herting, G., Barber, K., Zappala, M.R., Cunningham R.P. and  Burgis, N.E. (2010) Quantitative in vitro and in vivo characterization of the human P32T mutant ITPase. Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta- Molecular Basis for Disease 1802(2): 269-274.   

    Burgis, N.E. and Samson, L. D. (2007) The protein degradation response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to classical DNA-damaging agents. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 20(12): 1843-1853.   

    Burgis, N.E. and Cunningham, R.P. (2007) Substrate specificity of the RdgB protein, a deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 282(6): 3531-8.   

    Burgis, N.E., Brucker, J.J. and Cunningham, R.P. (2003) Repair system for noncanonical purines in Escherichia coli. Journal of Bacteriology, 185(10):3101-10.

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