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Marc M. Greenberg


Department Affiliation: Primary: Chemistry
Degree: Ph.D., Yale University
Rank: Professor
Telephone Number: 410-516-8095
Fax Number: 410-516-7044
E-mail address:

Johns Hopkins Homewood Address: Department of Chemistry, NCB 313, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
Greenberg Lab Homepage:

Chemical and biochemical approaches to the study of DNA damage and repair, and their applications including the design of repair enzyme inhibitors, radiosensitizing agents, sensors for DNA lesions.

Our research group uses organic chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology to understand and exploit the reactivity and structure of nucleic acids. Our ability to chemically synthesize unnatural molecules and carry out physico-chemical and biochemical studies with them enables us to address a variety of biologically important questions at the molecular level.

The investigations carried out in our group are designed to answer fundamental problems concerning nucleic acid chemistry, such as providing chemical insight into how cytotoxic antitumor agents that target DNA kill tumor cells. Practical applications give rise to tools that are useful in biotechnology.

Our studies on nucleic acids are divided into the following areas.

     •Histone protein catalyzed chemistry of damaged DNA in nucleosomes.

     •The effects of DNA lesions on repair.

     •How DNA and RNA are oxidatively damaged.

     •Inhibitors of DNA repair enzymes.

     •Photochemical control of nucleic acid structure.

     •Radiosenistizing agents.

Representative Publications:

  • Sun, H., Zheng, L., Yang, K., Greenberg, M.M. Positional Dependence of DNA Hole Transfer Efficiency in Nucleosome Core Particles. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 141, 10154-10158, 2019. Pub Med Reference
  • Yang, K., Sun, H., Lowder, L., Varadarajan, S., Greenberg, M.M. Reactivity of 3-Methyl-2'-Deoxyadenosine in Nucleosome Core Particles. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 32, 2118-2124, 2019. Pub Med Reference
  • Yang, K. and Greenberg, M.M. Histone Tail Sequences Balance Their Role in Genetic Regulation and the Need to Protect DNA Against Destruction in Nucleosome Core Particles Containing Abasic Sites. ChemBioChem 20, 78-82, 2019. Pub Med Reference
  • Yang, K., Park, D., Tretyakova, N.Y., Greenberg, M.M. Histone Tails Decrease N7-Methyl-2'-Deoxyguanosine Depurination and Yield DNA-Protein Crosslinks in Nucleosome Core Particles and Cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, E11212-E11220, 2018. Pub Med Reference 
  • Sun, H., Zheng, L., Greenberg, M.M. Independent Generation of Reactive Intermediates Leads to an Alternative Mechanism for Strand Damage Induced by Hole Transfer in Poly•(dA-T) Sequences. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 11308-11316, 2018. Pub Med Reference
  • Zheng, L. and Greenberg, M.M. Traceless Tandem Lesion Formation in DNA From a Nitrogen-Centered Purine Radical. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 6400-6407, 2018. Pub Med Reference
  • Laverty, D. J., Mortimer, I.P., Greenberg, M.M. Mechanistic Insight Through Irreversible Inhibition: DNA Polymerase q Uses a Common Active Site for Polymerase and Lyase Activities. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 9034-9037, 2018. Pub Med Reference
  • Zheng, L., Greenberg, M.M. DNA Damage Emanating From a Neutral Purine Radical Reveals the Sequence Dependent Convergence of the Direct and Indirect Effects of g-Radiolysis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 17751-17754, 2017. Pub Med Reference
  • Paul, R., Banerjee, S., Greenberg, M.M. Synergistic Effects of an Irreversible DNA Polymerase Inhibitor and DNA Damaging Agents on HeLa Cells. ACS Chem. Biol. 2017, 12, 1576-1583, 2017. Correction: ACS Chem. Biol. 13, 832-832, 2018. Pub Med Reference
  • Li, F., Zhang, Y., Bai, J., Greenberg, M.M., Xi, Z., Zhou, C. 5-Formylcytosine Yields DNA-Protein Crosslinks in Nucleosome Core Particles. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 10617-10620, 2017.  Pub Med Reference


Other graduate programs in which Dr. Greenberg participates:

Chemistry Graduate Program
Chemistry-Biology Interface Program (CBI)
Graduate Program in Molecular & Computational Biophysics