Dynamic DNA Structures in Biology

Conference Summary

For decades after its discovery, genomic DNA was believed to exist only as a right-handed, double helix known as B-DNA.  Its sole functions were to serve as a template for RNA synthesis or as a template for the production of identical duplexes during chromosome replication.  These core beliefs were shaken by the discovery that DNA is covalently modified and packaged into chromatin, and that the molecule can form an enormous variety of non-B alternative structures, including cruciforms, a left-handed helix, three- and four-stranded helices, and slip-strand configurations.  Transient denaturation of the duplex during all major DNA transactions (replication, transcription, repair and recombination) promotes dynamic transitions to non-B DNA structures as well as other structures of interest such as R-loops, D-loops, reversed replication forks, Holiday junctions, and other complex DNA-DNA or DNA-RNA structures.  Furthermore, repetitive DNA sequences, which are highly overrepresented in genomic DNA, are particularly prone to structural transitions.  Studies conducted in many labs worldwide have confirmed that structural transitions are not only central to normal functions of the genome, but also are responsible for occasional malfunctioning that leads to a disease state.  The most striking example is expansion of structure-prone DNA repeats, which is responsible for more than thirty hereditary neurological and developmental diseases.

The 2018 conference will be the fifth meeting on Dynamic DNA Structures in Biology, a highly interactive meeting that brings together a diverse, international community of researchers who maintain a “DNA-centric” view of basic biological processes.  Attendees will include those interested in disease-causing repeat expansions, chromosome fragility and rearrangements related to transcription and replication, genome editing and mutational processes, and the biological roles of unusual, non-B DNA structures.  Morning and evening scientific sessions will feature established and new investigators, and ample time for discussion will be incorporated into the program.  In addition, short talks chosen from submitted abstracts will be included in each session, with preference given to early career investigators and trainees.  Afternoon poster sessions will further foster the exchange of ideas and facilitate the establishment of new collaborations.  It is anticipated that funds will be available to support the attendance of early career investigators and trainees.

Important Deadlines:

  • Early bird registration deadline May 14, 2018
  • Last day to register June 6, 2018


  • A new session on genome editing, including mechanisms involved and approaches for therapy of trinucleotide repeat expansion diseases
  • Cutting edge science in the area of dynamic DNA structures combined with a highly interactive atmosphere
  • A career development workshop led by scientists in both academia and industry

Keynote Speakers

The EMBO Keynote Lecture
Andrés Aguilera
University of Seville

Nancy Maizels
University of Washington

David Leach
University of Edinburgh

Conference Organizers

Chair: Catherine Freudenreich
Tufts University

Chair: Susan Lovett
Brandeis University

Co-Chair: Lorraine Symington
Columbia University

FASEB Conference Staff

Trina Eacho, Conference Manager

Contact us

Email:  src@faseb.org
Phone: 1.301.634.7010

Date & Location


July 8-13, 2018


St. Bonaventure University
Francis Hall Building
Clare Road
Olean, NY 14760

Transportation & Lodging

Airport Information

  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)  is 1 hour and 30 minutes from the University.  
  • Erie International Airport (ERI) is 1 hour and 45 minutes from the University
  • Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) is 2 hours and 15 minutes from St. Bonaventure University.
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport is 167 miles or 3 hours from the University.  (A Valid Passport is required to enter the US from Canada.)

Click the links below for Transportation & Lodging information:

Official Conference Lodging

St. Bonaventure University
Francis Hall Building
Clare Road
Olean, NY 14760

The sleeping rooms at St. Bonaventure are apartment style lodging, with four single bedrooms with a shared 1 ½ baths. The rooms are air conditioned and can be locked. Each person will be provided an individual key for their room upon check in.

We are unable to book additional nights at St. Bonaventure University.  If you plan to arrive early or stay beyond the conference dates, you must make your own reservations at one of the off-site locations for the extra nights you require. You are responsible for payment upon check-out.

Click here for additional Offsite Lodging.

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