About the Lab
Established in August 1997, the Zechiedrich laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine is located in the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, in Houston, Texas, USA. The work in the laboratory centers around DNA structure/function and the essential enzymes that modulate DNA structure and function, the DNA topoisomerases. Human topoisomerases are the targets of several classes of anti-cancer drugs while bacterial topoisomerases are targeted by fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Because the essential topoisomerases modulate DNA, the work in the laboratory has broadened to include creating tiny circles of DNA to study DNA supercoiling and how it affects topoisomerases and how drugs inhibit topoisomerases. These tiny nanoparticles of DNA have become a new gene therapy delivery tool.
The work in the Zechiedrich laboratory has been funded by a New Investigator award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF), a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Program in Mathematics and Molecular Biology (funded by the NSF and BWF), a genome sequencing award from Applied Biosystems, a John S. Dunn Foundation Collaborative Research Award, a Human Frontier Science Program grant, seed funding from the Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium in Seattle, seed funding from the Baylor–UT Houston Center for AIDS Research and an Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome research pilot award. Currently the laboratory is funded by the NIH and the NSF.
The multidisciplinary research in the laboratory provides ample opportunity for training. Dr. Zechiedrich has trained nine previous postdoctoral fellows, 14 former and one current graduate students, five former post-baccalaureate students, 23 former and one current undergraduate students, and seven high school students in addition to hosting three visiting professors. She has published and lectured nationally on mentoring and was Baylor College of Medicine's BRASS Mentor of the Year in 2013. In 2018, she was named a Baylor College of Medicine Woman of Excellence based upon her dedication to inclusive excellence and diversity, and in 2020 she received the highest education honor given at Baylor College of Medicine, the Barbara and Corbin J. Robertson, Jr. Presidential Award for Excellence in Education. Former trainees from the Zechiedrich laboratory contribute to science in multiple different capacities. They are college professors, company scientists and CEO's, medical doctors, science writers, postdoctoral fellows, and leaders in K12 education (see Zechiedrich laboratory alumni).