Dr. Dana Krepel Zussman was born and raised in Tel-Aviv, Israel. She began performing research during her military service at the Intelligence Corps at the Israeli Defense Forces. She received her B.Sc and M.Sc in Chemistry and Ph.D in Chemical Physics from Tel-Aviv University. During her Ph.D studies she focused on the application of computational tools for the prediction and characterization of the electronic properties of systems at the nanoscale and their ability to serve as accurate and reliable chemical detectors of organic molecules.
In 2014, Dana performed computational research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, studying protein-DNA recognition in crowded environments. Essentially, most of the biological functions of DNA require the binding of specific proteins to specific DNA sequences. For binding to occur, the protein has to discriminate between many similar and competing binding sites. This research focused on understanding cellular communication from physical and molecular viewpoints using theoretical and computational tools and deciphered important features of cell machinery.
Dana began her current postdoctoral research at Rice University in September 2016 under the mentorship of Prof. Jose Onuchic. The aim of her research is to shed light on the enigma of three-dimensional chromatin structure, a complex of packed DNA and proteins. Alterations of chromatin pattern is found to be related to various malignancies and in wide range of human cancers. However, the exact cause of change in chromatin pattern along with its mechanisms are still unclear. For this, computational tools are currently being used to study the architecture and topology of chromatin complex, which could have important implications on understanding such biological processes and for drug design.