Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

George-Lucian Moldovan, PhD

George-Lucian Moldovan, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

Dr. George-Lucian Moldovan’s major research goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanism of replication of DNA lesions in human cells, using an integrative approach that includes:

  • identification of the factors involved in detection and processing of stalled forks;
  • biochemical reconstitution of discrete steps of the fork restart process; and
  • genetic analyses to assess the role of these processes in genomic stability, cellular transformation, and cancer prevention and therapy.

For all organisms, the information necessary for living and propagation is encoded in their genomes. Maintaining and transferring stable genomes to the progeny is thus essential. In humans, failure to preserve the correct DNA sequence can result in cellular transformation and cancer, as well as degeneration and accelerated aging. To avoid genomic instability, cells employ numerous mechanisms that detect, signal and repair DNA lesions. These mechanisms also stabilize and protect complex macromolecular structures such as replication forks (which form during DNA duplication) and ensure the correct and timely replication and segregation of chromosomes. They are subjected to complex cellular regulation and are frequently inactivated in cancer.

In particular, DNA replication is a complex process that requires tight regulation to ensure genomic stability. Replication of damaged DNA poses a great risk, since DNA lesions cannot be processed by regular replicative polymerases and thus result in stalling of the replication machinery. Understanding how the replication machinery deals with roadblocks is fundamental, since prolonged replication stalling can result in strand breaks, translocations, and genomic instability. What ultimately dictates the fate of stalled forks is not understood and in fact remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in cell biology.

To resolve this conundrum, the missing components of this regulatory circuit must be identified and characterized.

  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • DNA
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Damage
  • Neoplasms
  • Genomic Instability
  • DNA Replication
  • Proteins
  • Genome
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Homologous Recombination
  • Ubiquitin

Recent Publications


Weissenrieder, JS, Reed, JL, Moldovan, GL, Johnson, MT, Trebak, M, Neighbors, JD, Mailman, RB & Hohl, RJ 2021, 'Antipsychotic drugs elicit cytotoxicity in glioblastoma multiforme in a calcium-dependent, non-D2 receptor-dependent, manner', Pharmacology Research and Perspectives, vol. 9, no. 3, e00689.
O’Connor, MJ, Thakar, T, Nicolae, CM & Moldovan, GL 2021, 'PARP14 regulates cyclin D1 expression to promote cell-cycle progression', Oncogene, vol. 40, no. 30, pp. 4872-4883.


Schleicher, EM, Dhoonmoon, A, Jackson, LM, Clements, KE, Stump, CL, Nicolae, CM & Moldovan, GL 2020, 'Dual genome-wide CRISPR knockout and CRISPR activation screens identify mechanisms that regulate the resistance to multiple ATR inhibitors', PLoS genetics, vol. 16, no. 11, e1009176.
Awate, S, Sommers, JA, Datta, A, Nayak, S, Bellani, MA, Yang, O, Dunn, CA, Nicolae, CM, Moldovan, GL, Seidman, MM, Cantor, SB & Brosh, RM 2020, 'FANCJ compensates for RAP80 deficiency and suppresses genomic instability induced by interstrand cross-links', Nucleic acids research, vol. 48, no. 16, pp. 9161-9180.
Dhoonmoon, A, Schleicher, EM, Clements, KE, Nicolae, CM & Moldovan, GL 2020, 'Genome-wide CRISPR synthetic lethality screen identifies a role for the ADP-ribosyltransferase PARP14 in DNA replication dynamics controlled by ATR', Nucleic acids research, vol. 48, no. 13, pp. 7252-7264.
Clements, KE, Schleicher, EM, Thakar, T, Hale, A, Dhoonmoon, A, Tolman, NJ, Sharma, A, Liang, X, Imamura Kawasawa, Y, Nicolae, CM, Wang, HG, De, S & Moldovan, GL 2020, 'Identification of regulators of poly-ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitor response through complementary CRISPR knockout and activation screens', Nature communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 6118.
Thakar, T, Leung, W, Nicolae, CM, Clements, KE, Shen, B, Bielinsky, AK & Moldovan, GL 2020, 'Ubiquitinated-PCNA protects replication forks from DNA2-mediated degradation by regulating Okazaki fragment maturation and chromatin assembly', Nature communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 2147.


Yamamoto, TM, McMellen, A, Watson, ZL, Aguilera, J, Ferguson, R, Nurmemmedov, E, Thakar, T, Moldovan, GL, Kim, H, Cittelly, DM, Joglar, AM, Brennecke, EP, Wilson, H, Behbakht, K, Sikora, MJ & Bitler, BG 2019, 'Activation of Wnt signaling promotes olaparib resistant ovarian cancer', Molecular Carcinogenesis, vol. 58, no. 10, pp. 1770-1782.
Naldiga, S, Ji, S, Thomforde, J, Nicolae, CM, Lee, M, Zhang, Z, Moldovan, GL, Tretyakova, NY & Basu, AK 2019, 'Error-prone replication of a 5-formylcytosine-mediated DNA-peptide cross-link in human cells', Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 294, no. 27, pp. 10619-10627.
Edvardson, S, Nicolae, CM, Noh, GJ, Burton, JE, Punzi, G, Shaag, A, Bischetsrieder, J, De Grassi, A, Pierri, CL, Elpeleg, O & Moldovan, GL 2019, 'Heterozygous RNF13 Gain-of-Function Variants Are Associated with Congenital Microcephaly, Epileptic Encephalopathy, Blindness, and Failure to Thrive', American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 104, no. 1, pp. 179-185.
Leung, W, Baxley, RM, Moldovan, GL & Bielinsky, AK 2019, 'Mechanisms of DNA damage tolerance: post-translational regulation of PCNA', Genes, vol. 10, no. 1, 10.
Nicolae, CM, O’Connor, MJ, Schleicher, EM, Song, C, Gowda, R, Robertson, G, Dovat, S & Moldovan, GL 2019, 'PARI (PARPBP) suppresses replication stress-induced myeloid differentiation in leukemia cells', Oncogene, vol. 38, no. 27, pp. 5530-5540.
Ranoa, DRE, Widau, RC, Mallon, S, Parekh, AD, Nicolae, CM, Huang, X, Bolt, MJ, Arina, A, Parry, R, Kron, SJ, Moldovan, GL, Khodarev, NN & Weichselbaum, RR 2019, 'STING promotes homeostasis via regulation of cell proliferation and chromosomal stability', Cancer Research, vol. 79, no. 7, pp. 1465-1479.
Weissenrieder, JS, Reed, JL, Green, MV, Moldovan, GL, Koubek, EJ, Neighbors, JD & Hohl, RJ 2020, 'The Dopamine D2 Receptor Contributes to the Spheroid Formation Behavior of U87 Glioblastoma Cells', Pharmacology, vol. 105, no. 1-2, pp. 19-27.


Barnes, RP, Tsao, WC, Moldovan, GL & Eckert, KA 2018, 'DNA polymerase eta prevents tumor cell-cycle arrest and cell death during recovery from replication stress', Cancer Research, vol. 78, no. 23, pp. 6549-6560.
Clements, KE, Thakar, T, Nicolae, CM, Liang, X, Wang, HG & Moldovan, GL 2018, 'Loss of E2F7 confers resistance to poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors in BRCA2-deficient cells', Nucleic acids research, vol. 46, no. 17, pp. 8898-8907.
Nicolae, CM, O'connor, MJ, Constantin, D & Moldovan, GL 2018, 'NFκB regulates p21 expression and controls DNA damage-induced leukemic differentiation', Oncogene, vol. 37, no. 27, pp. 3647-3656.
Schleicher, EM, Galvan, AM, Imamura-Kawasawa, Y, Moldovan, GL & Nicolae, CM 2018, 'PARP10 promotes cellular proliferation and tumorigenesis by alleviating replication stress', Nucleic acids research, vol. 46, no. 17, pp. 8908-8916.


Choe, KN & Moldovan, GL 2017, 'Forging Ahead through Darkness: PCNA, Still the Principal Conductor at the Replication Fork', Molecular cell, vol. 65, no. 3, pp. 380-392.
Edvardson, S, Nicolae, CM, Agrawal, PB, Mignot, C, Payne, K, Prasad, AN, Prasad, C, Sadler, L, Nava, C, Mullen, TE, Begtrup, A, Baskin, B, Powis, Z, Shaag, A, Keren, B, Moldovan, GL & Elpeleg, O 2017, 'Heterozygous De Novo UBTF Gain-of-Function Variant Is Associated with Neurodegeneration in Childhood', American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 101, no. 2, pp. 267-273.

Clinical Trials Search

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