James E. Haber


James E. Haber




James E. Haber received his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. After postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he joined the Department of Biology at Brandeis University in 1972. He is now the Abraham and Etta Goodman Professor of Biology and Director of the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center. He has focused his research on genome instability, especially the repair of chromosome double-strand DNA breaks and the role of DNA damage checkpoints. In 2011 he received the Genetics Society of America’s Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Genetics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


I have the opportunity to work closely with Professor Hiroshi Iwasaki and the talented members of his laboratory on questions of how broken chromosomes are repaired by cells. My visits also enable me to come in contact with other Japanese researchers in Tokyo and other major research centers in Japan.


  • DNA damage response and repair of a broken chromosome
    National Institute of Genreral Medical Sciences

    The overall goal of NIGMS-funded research in my lab is to describe the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which cells sense the presence of DNA damage and carry our repair of chromosomal double-strand breaks (DSBs). Using budding yeast as a model system, it is possible to induce site-specific DSBs with a high degree of synchrony not yet possible in mammalian cells, allowing “in vivo biochemistry” approaches to monitor intermediate steps in DSB repair and DNA damage signaling. We investigate key questions concerning DSB repair by homologous recombination. We seek to understand what is the basis of the 1000-fold increase in mutations associated with DSB repair and how microhomologies are used in repair-dependent template switching, creating complex chromosome rearrangements analogous to events recently found in human cancers. Finally, we wish to understand how the DNA damage checkpoint and DNA damage-induced autophagy are regulated. These studies will provide new insights and guidance in defining the DSB repair and checkpoint signaling in human cells.
    Jenny Choi
    Danielle Gallagher
    Brenda Lemos
    Kevin Li
    Yuko Nakajima
    Elena Sapede
    Neal Sugawara
    Miyuki Yamaguchi
    David Waterman
    Judy Qiuqin Wu
    Felix Zhou


Assistant Professor, Brandeis University


Associate Professor, Brandeis University


Professor, Brandeis University


東京工業大学科学技術創成研究院 特任教授


Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology


Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science




Fellow, Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study


Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Member, National Academy of Sciences


Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Genetics, Genetics Society of America


Valencia MM, Bentele MB, Vaze MG, Herrmann E, Kraus, Lee SE, Schar P and Haber JE. (2001) NEJ1 controls non-homologous end joining in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nature414, 666-9.



Ira G, Malkova, A, Liberi G, Foiani M, and Haber JE. (2003) Srs2 and Sgs1-Top3 Suppress Crossovers during Double-Strand Break Repair in Yeast. Cell 115, 401-411.


Lydeard JR, Jain S, Yamaguchi M and Haber JE. (2007). Break-induced replication and telomerase-independent telomere maintenance require Pol32. Nature 448, 820-823.


Hicks WM, Kim M and Haber JE. (2010) Increased mutagenesis and unique mutation signature associated with mitotic gene conversion. Science 329, 82-85.


Tsaponina O and Haber JE. (2014) Frequent Interchromosomal Template Switches during Gene Conversion in S. cerevisiae. Mol Cell 55, 615-625.

Lee CS, Lee K, Legube G and Haber JE. (2014) Dynamics of yeast histone H2A and H2B phosphorylation in response to a double-strand break. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 21, 103-109.


Tsabar M, Waterman DP, Aguilar F, Katsnelson L, Eapen VV, Memisoglu G, Haber JE. (2016). Asf1 facilitates dephosphorylation of Rad53 after DNA double-strand break repair. Genes Dev. 30, 1211-24.


Anand R, Beach A, Li K and Haber JE (2017) Rad51-mediated double-strand break repair and mismatch correction of divergent substrates. Nature 544, 377–380


New insights into donor directionality of mating-type switching in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Takahisa Maki, Naoto Ogura, James E Haber, Hiroshi Iwasaki, Genevieve Thon. PLoS Genet. (2018) 14(5):e1007424.