Penghao Xu - 2022 Suddath Award

  • Penghao Xu - 2nd Place - Ph.D. Candidate, Bioinformatics, Georgia Tech – Francesca Storici, Advisor - "Applications of Bioinformatics to Uncover Features and Functions of Ribonucleotides Embedded in Eukaryotic DNA"
    • Penghao developed a heatmap analysis to determine the frequency of the deoxyribonucleotides that surround the rNMPs embedded in genomic DNA all on his own. These dinucleotide or trinucleotide-preference heatmaps have led us to discover a fundamental rule of rNMP incorporation in DNA, namely that the deoxyribonucleotide immediately upstream of an rNMP site is a major determinant for incorporation of the rNMPs by DNA polymerases in specific genomic loci. This finding markedly increased the significance of our work, and it is reflected in the title of our recently published study ‘Ribonucleotide incorporation in yeast genomic DNA shows preference for cytosine and guanosine preceded by deoxyadenosine’ in Nature Communications, 2020. Penghao is co-first author in this large study by Balachander, Gombolay, Yang, Xu et al.The mono- and di-nucleotide heatmap analyses of ribonucleotides embedded in genomic DNA developed by Penghao represent a central part of the recently published manuscript in iScience, in which Penghao applied his heatmap analysis to rNMPs embedded in genomic DNA of the photosynthetic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The study is entitled ‘Disproportionate presence of adenosine in mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii’. Penghao is co-second author in this study.