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Faculty/Staff Members


Phone: 4252
Office: A 17B

Stacey Peterson - PhD

Professor, Biological Sciences

PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
BS, Pepperdine University - Malibu, Biology


How do bacteria cause disease? Why are certain strains of bacteria likely to invade our cells and make us sick while other strains are harmless? My research focuses on a bacterial DNA-modifying enzyme that regulates the expression of genes that are involved in the development of disease. The enzyme I study is called DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam). The enzyme modifies DNA and is important not only for gene regulation but also for mismatch repair and the proper timing of DNA replication. Dam may be a great target for the development of new antibiotics for various bacterial infections. Furthermore, chemical modifications to DNA are important for gene expression in humans and if not properly regulated can lead to cancer. Therefore, studying Dam will help us understand more about these processes in humans.

Students working in my lab gain valuable experience in a variety of molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemical techniques including gel electrophoresis, PCR, bacterial transformations, and enzyme assays. Students work with both DNA and proteins. Furthermore, students gain professional skills by presenting their research at the end of each semester and at research conferences.

  1. Peterson, S.N. and Reich, N.O. 2010. LRP: a nucleoid-associated protein with gene regulatory functions. In “Bacterial Chromatin” (T. Remus Dame and Charles J. Dorman eds.) Springer publisher, pp. 353-364.
  2. Peterson, S.N., and Reich, N.O. (2008) Competitive Lrp and Dam assembly at the pap regulatory region: implications for mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. J. Mol. Biol., 383, 92-105.
  3. Peterson, S.N., Dahlquist, F.W., and Reich, N.O. (2007). The Role of High Affinity Non-specific DNA Binding by Lrp in Transcriptional Regulation and DNA Organization. J. Mol.Biol. 369, 1307-1317.
  4. Peterson, S. N. & Reich, N. O. (2006). GATC flanking sequences regulate Dam activity: evidence for how Dam specificity may influence pap expression. J. Mol.Biol. 335, 459–472.
  5. Yun, C.S., Javier, A., Jennings, T., Fisher, M., Hira, S., Peterson, S., Hopkins, B., Reich, N.O., and Strouse, G.F. (2005). Nanometal surface energy transfer in optical rulers, breaking the FRET barrier. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 3115-3119.