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Tom Tullius

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Biography

Tom Tullius is Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Graduate Program in Bioinformatics at Boston University. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1979 in bioinorganic chemistry, working with Keith O. Hodgson on X-ray spectroscopy of metalloproteins. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University from 1979-82 in the laboratory of Stephen J. Lippard, studying the interaction of platinum antitumor drugs with DNA. He began his independent academic career in 1982 at The Johns Hopkins University, where he was Professor of Chemistry, Biophysics, and Biology and the McCollum-Pratt Institute. He moved to Boston University in 1997 to become Chair of the Department of Chemistry (1997-2005). Currently he is Director of the Program in Bioinformatics, and Professor of Chemistry, at Boston University. His awards include an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award in Aging, the Herbert A. Sober Award of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and a Searle Scholar award. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Tom Tullius is widely known for introducing an elegant and powerful chemistry-based method, hydroxyl radical footprinting, for determining structural details of nucleic acids. Systems he has studied include the nucleosome, the Holliday junction recombination intermediate, bent DNA, and DNA-protein complexes. His publications have been very highly cited – five of his key papers have been cited in more than 2000 scientific papers. Hydroxyl radical footprinting has been adopted by many scientists in related fields, to determine the structures of large RNAs and to follow the kinetics of folding of RNA. In recent years his laboratory has focused on studies at the whole-genome level. As part of the ENCODE Consortium, Tullius used the hydroxyl radical method to make a high-resolution structural map of the human genome. His most exciting recent finding is that there is evolutionary selection for DNA shape that is not evident in the conservation of nucleotide sequence. The new genomic "grammar" that his lab is beginning to describe has the promise to revolutionize our understanding of the role of DNA shape and structure in biology.

Employment

Boston University

Program in Bioinformatics

Boston University

Chemistry

Johns Hopkins University

Chemistry, Biology, Biophysics

Columbia University

Chemistry

Education

Stanford University, Chemistry

UCLA, Chemistry