Welcome To Black Lab.

The Black Lab is answering the most pressing questions in chromosome biology, such as:

  • How does genetic inheritance actually work?
  • How was epigenetic information transmitted to us from our parents?
  • Can building new artificial chromosomes help us understand how natural chromosomes work?
  • How are the key enzymes protecting the integrity of our genome specifically and potently activated by potential catastrophes like DNA breaks or chromosome misattachment to the mitotic spindle?


Levani leads study in Science that provides the molecular understanding to create tunable PARP inhibitors for clinical applications where PARP-1 trapping on DNA breaks is either desirable or undesirable in specific patients

A flurry of reviews led by Craig, Katie, Ye, and Runi are published on the topics of initiating centromere identity on new artificial chromosomes, introducing artificial chromosomes into animals, the structural biochemistry of centromeres and kinetochores, and the maternal inheritance of centromere identity through the germline

Glennis and Craig develop a new type of human artificial chromosome that removes a key barrier limiting mammalian synthetic genome efforts, reported in our paper in Cell and highlighted here, here, and here

Praveen leads cryo-EM study of core centromeric chromatin complex, developing a new model for kinetochore assembly at the onset of mitosis

Scientific Community

We are very active in scientific interactions across several departments, programs, and schools here at UPenn, including close-knit ties to graduate programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (BMB) and Cell and Molecular Biology (CAMB). We are also founding members of the Penn Center for Genome Integrity and multi-lab group meetings of the Philly Chromosome Club.