Kara A. Bernstein, PhD

Associate Professor: Pharmacology and Chemical Biology

Dr. Bernstein


Fax: 412-623-1010

2.42e University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

5117 Centre Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-1862


PhD in Genetics, Yale University

Research Summary

Repair of DNA damage is crucial to prevent accumulation of mutations that can cause genomic instability, aging, and cancer.  Our lab studies how double-strand breaks in the DNA, one of the most lethal types of DNA lesions, are repaired.  By understanding the mechanism of double-strand break repair and the role of DNA repair proteins in this process, we will uncover mechanisms of tumorigenesis and cancer progression.  We will then use this knowledge to aid in diagnosis/prognosis of different types of cancers to find novel therapeutic targets for these patients.

Dr. Bernstein conducts her research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. 

Click here for a full listing of publications


Kondrashova O, Nguyen M, Shield-Artin K, Tinker AV, Teng N, Harrell MI, Kuiper MJ, Ho GY, Barker H, Jasin M, Prakash R, Kass EM, Sullivan MR, Brunette GJ, Bernstein KA, Coleman RL, Floquet A, Friedlander M, Kichenadasse G, O'Malley DM, Oza A, Sun J, Robillard L, Maloney L, AOCS Study Group, Giordano H, Wakefield MJ, Kaufmann SH, Simmons AD, Harding TC, Raponi M, McNeish IA, Swisher EM, Lin KK and Scott CL. 2017. Secondary Somatic Mutations Restoring RAD51C and RAD51D Associated with Acquired Resistance to the PARP Inhibitor Rucaparib in High-Grade Ovarian Carcinoma. Cancer Discov. 7: 984-998. |  View Abstract

Kong M, Liu L, Chen X, Driscoll KL, Mao P, Böhm S, Kad NM, Watkins S, Bernstein KA, Wyrick JJ, Min JH and Van Houten B. 2016. Single-Molecule Imaging Reveals that Rad4 Employs a Dynamic DNA Damage Recognition Process. 64: 376-387. |  View Abstract

Godin SK, Zhang Z, Herken BW, Westmoreland JW, Lee AG, Mihalevic MJ, Yu Z, Sobol RW, Resnick MA and Bernstein KA. 2016. The Shu complex promotes error-free tolerance of alkylation-induced base excision repair products. Nucleic Acids Res. 44: 8199-8215. |  View Abstract

Gaines WA, Godin SK, Kabbinavar FF, Rao T, VanDemark AP, Sung P and Bernstein KA. 2015. Promotion of presynaptic filament assembly by the ensemble of S. cerevisiae Rad51 paralogues with Rad52. Nat Commun. 28: 7834. |  View Abstract

Godin SK, Meslin C, Kabbinavar F, Bratton-Palmer DS, Hornack C, Mihalevic M, Yoshida K, Sullivan M, Clark NL and Bernstein KA. 2015. Evolutionary and functional analysis of the invariant SWIM domain in the conserved Shu2/SWS1 protein family from Saccharomyces cerevisiae to Homo sapiens. Genetics. 199: 1023-1033. |  View Abstract