Jens Schmidt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. His research uses cell biological and biophysical approaches to explain how human cells maintain their genomic integrity, which is an important barrier for cancer formation.
Dr. Schmidt received his Ph.D. in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied the molecular mechanisms of chromosome segregation. Dr. Schmidt went on to complete his postdoctoral work in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The Schmidt lab focuses on several aspects of telomerase-mediated telomere maintenance to develop a quantitative understanding of this process in human cells, with the ultimate goal of targeting telomerase as an approach for cancer therapy. This group has demonstrated that telomerase forms two types of interactions with telomeres: fast probing interactions, and long-static interactions, which likely represent telomere elongation events. They seek to understand how individual telomeres regulate the formation of long-static interactions and how many nucleotides telomerase adds to the telomere during a single elongation event. Dr. Schmidt and his team use a combination of biochemical and single-molecule approaches to analyze all aspects of the telomerase catalytic cycle.