John Lis
Barbara McClintock Professor of Molecular Biology & Genetics

John Lis




Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics
416 Biotechnology Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-2703


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John Lis is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. He did his graduate research at Brandeis University and received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1975. His postdoctoral work focused on Drosophila gene regulation and chromosome structure at Stanford University, during which time he was supported by a fellowship from the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation. Dr. Lis joined the faculty at Cornell in 1978. His research program has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, including a MERIT Award, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, Cornell Biotechnology Institute, and a Proctor and Gamble University Exploratory Research Grant.

Research Description

The regulated production of a mature mRNA in eukaryotes requires highly coordinated molecular interactions and biochemical processes that involve the participation of hundreds of proteins.  Our lab is focusing on the molecular mechanisms that govern the regulated transcription and processing of these mRNAs using as a primary model system the highly-inducible heat shock (HS) genes.  Over the past 2.5 decades, our laboratory has applied, and in some cases developed, strategies such as protein/DNA crosslinking, DNA footprinting, and transgenics to probe the structure of promoters and genes and their activities in living cells [Lis (1998)]. We are continuing to use both well-established and new technologies to identify protein factors that participate in the HS gene mRNA production, and to define with high temporal and spatial resolution in vivo protein/nucleic acid and protein/protein interactions during the process of gene activation. more

Selected Publications

Click here to view Dr. Lis' PubMed listings.