Priyanka Verma, PhD


Verma-Priyanka-Headshot1024 1I pursued my doctoral studies at the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, India. I trained with Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale and worked toward understanding lipid metabolic pathways in Mycobacteria. I then moved to Rockefeller University in Jan. 2013 for my first postdoctoral training with Dr. Tarun M. Kapoor. By leveraging my expertise in biochemistry, I contributed to the development of a proteomics-based methodology that led to the identification of a direct binding partner of a phosphorylated histone mark that initiates DNA repair signaling. In order to more closely study the contributions of DNA damage response in cancer etiology and therapeutic responses, I joined Dr. Roger A. Greenberg’s laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania in December 2015. My work revealed a network of non-canonical homology-directed repair mechanisms that ensure telomere maintenance and cell viability in cancers that rely on Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres. In my subsequent work, I demonstrated that PARP-dependent chromatin de-condensation prevents the genesis of genomic lesions that foster PARPi induced cytotoxicity. This work identified the PAR-dependent nucleosome sliding enzyme, ALC1 (Amplified in Liver Cancer 1), as a new drug target in BRCA-mutant cancers and highlights endogenous base damage as a precipitating cause of genome instability in cells that lack canonical DNA repair pathways.

In August 2021, I will join as Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Section of Molecular Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. I am also the first Pedal The Cause Cancer Researcher at Siteman Cancer Center.


The three broad avenues that the Verma lab will explore are:

  1. What dictates cellular responses to chemotherapy targeting DNA repair pathways?
  2. How do cancer cells deal with roadblocks to replication?
  3. What are the endogenous DNA lesions in BRCA-mutant cancer cells?

Insights from these studies offer possibilities to understand mechanisms that lead to genomic instability and identify vulnerabilities that can catalyze the development of improved therapeutic regimens. My research integrates a multitude of methodologies including several functional genomics approaches, such as CRISPR genetic screens, as well as various high-resolution imaging and mass spectrometry-based techniques.

Verma Research

Lab website:

Recent Publications

  1. Verma P.*, Greenberg RA*. Communication between chromatin and homologous recombination. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev., 71, 1-9, 2021. (*Corresponding authors)
  2. Verma P., Zhou Y., Cao Z., Deraska P., Arai E., Deb M., Li W., Li Y., Patankar S., Faryabi RB., Shi J., Greenberg RA. ALC1 and PARP activities coordinate chromatin accessibility and viability in homologous recombination deficient cells. Nat Cell Biol., 23(2),160-171, 2021. (Highlighted by preLights, covered by Mirage News and
  3. Kim H., Xu, George E., Hallberg D., Kumar S., Jagannathan V., Medvedev S., Kinose Y., Devins K., Verma P., Ly K., Wang Y., Greenberg RA., Schwartz L., Johnson N., Scharpf, RB., Mills GB., Zhang R., Velculescu VE., Brown EJ., Simpkins, F. Combination PARP and ATR inhibition causes complete and durable responses in PARP inhibitor and platinum resistant ovarian cancer. Nat Commun. 11(1),1-16, 2020.
  4. Verma P., Dilley RL, Zhang T, Gyparaki MT, Li Y, Greenberg RA. RAD52 and SLX4 act nonepistatically to ensure telomere stability during alternative telomere lengthening. Genes Dev. 33, 221-235, 2019.
  5. Dilley RL., Verma P., Cho NM., Winters HD., Wondisford A., Greenberg RA. Break-induced telomere synthesis underlies homology-directed telomere maintenance. Nature. 539, 54-58, 2016.
  6. Verma P., Greenberg RA. Non-canonical views of homology directed DNA repair. Genes Dev. 30,1138-1154, 2016.
  7. Kleiner RE., Verma P., Molloy , Chait BT., Kapoor TM. A chemical proteomics approach reveals a direct interaction between 53BP1 and ϒH2AX involved in the DNA damage response. Nat. Chem. Biol. 11, 807-814, 2015.
  8. Anand A.*, Verma P.*, Singh AK., Kaushik S., Pandey R., Shi C., Kaur H., Chawla M., Elechalawar CK., Kumar D., Yang Y., Bhavesh NS., Banerjee R., Dash D., Singh A., Natrajan VT, Ojha AK., Aldrich CC., Gokhale RS. Polyketide quinones are alternate intermediate electron carriers during mycobacterial respiration in oxygen-deficient niches. Mol. Cell. 60, 637-650, 2015. (*Equal first author)
  9. Resmi MS., Verma P., Gokhale RS., Soniya EV. Identification and characterization of a Type III Polyketide synthase involved in quinolone alkaloid biosynthesis from Aegle marmelos Corre J. Biol. Chem. 288, 7271-7281, 2013.
  10. Goyal A.*, Verma P.*, Ananadkrishna M., Gokhale RS., Sankaranarayanan R. Molecular basis of the functional divergence of Fatty Acyl-AMP Ligase biosynthetic enzymes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J. Mol. Biol. 416, 221-238, 2012. (*Equal first author) (Cover Page Article)