Scott Keeney is a geneticist and molecular biologist recognized for his work on homologous recombination during meiosis. He is known particularly for his discovery of Spo11 as the protein that makes the DNA double-strand breaks that initiate recombination. His studies of Spo11 and its regulation have elucidated how cells ensure genome integrity during sexual reproduction. Keeney was born in Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. He graduated in 1987 from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, with a bachelor?s degree in biochemistry, and in 1993 from the University of California at Berkeley with a PhD in biochemistry under the mentorship of Prof. Stuart Linn. He was a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry with Nancy Kleckner at Harvard University. He has been a member of the faculty in the Molecular Biology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center since 1997, and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2008. He is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Scott Keeney's laboratory is interested in homologous recombination during meiosis. Principally focused on mouse and the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, they use molecular genetic, biochemical, genomic, and cytological approaches to understand the mechanism of meiotic recombination and to determine how this process is coordinated with other events of meiotic prophase. Several projects in the lab focus on Spo11 (the protein that makes the DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that initiate recombination), the proteins that interact with Spo11, the interactions of these proteins with meiotic chromosomes, and the mechanisms that regulate the timing, number, and location of DSB formation. They also study how DSBs are processed and repaired and they seek to expand knowledge of meiotic processes more generally through discovery of new genes important for germ cell function in mice. Finally, their studies of Spo11 have also provided an entry point to research on the DSBs made by the enzyme Topoisomerase II when it is inhibited by chemotherapeutic agents such as etoposide or doxorubicin.

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Primary Section

Section 26: Genetics

Secondary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry