Department of Chemistry

Sarah Delaney

Professor of Chemistry
Research Interests Nucleic acids chemistry and biology, DNA repair, Enzyme kinetics


Research Statement 

Research in the Delaney laboratory aims to understand the biological consequences of DNA damage. Using the methods and tools of biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology we probe the effects of DNA damage from the molecular to the cellular level. We exploit our abilities to synthesize modified DNA nucleobases and study their properties within well-defined systems. We are particularly interested in the role of packaging of DNA into chromatin and how that packaging influences repair of DNA damage.


  • B.A. in Chemistry, Middlebury College (Advisor: Sunhee Choi)  
  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Caltech (Advisor: Jacqueline K. Barton)  
  • Postdoctoral Fellow in Biological Engineering, MIT (Advisor: John M. Essigmann)


  • Bilotti, K., Tarantino, M., and Delaney, S. hOGG1 removes solution-accessible 8-oxoG lesions from globally-substituted nucleosomes except at the dyad axis. Biochemistry. 2018, Accepted for publication.
  • Bilotti, K., Kennedy, E.E., Li, C. and Delaney, S. Human OGG1 activity in nucleosomes is facilitated by transient unwrapping of DNA and is influenced by the local histone environment. DNA Repair2017, 59, 1.
  • Olmon, E.D. and Delaney, S. Differential ability of five DNA glycosylases to recognize and repair damage on nucleosomal DNA. ACS Chem. Biol. 2017, 12, 692. 
  • Huang, J. and Delaney, S. Unique length-dependent biophysical properties of repetitive DNA. J. Phys. Chem. B2016, 120, 4195.
  • Huang, J., Yennie, C. J., and Delaney, S. Klenow fragment discriminates against the incorporation of the hyperoxidized dGTP lesion spiroiminodihydantoin into DNA. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2015, 28, 2325. 
  • Tarantino, M.E., Bilotti, K., Huang, J., and Delaney, S. Rate-determining step of flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1) reflects a kinetic bias against long flaps and trinucleotide repeat sequences. J. Biol. Chem. 2015, 290, 21254.
  • Schermerhorn, K. M. and Delaney, S. A chemical and kinetic perspective on base excision repair of DNA. Acc. Chem. Res2014, 47, 1238-1246. 
  • Volle C. B. and Delaney S. AGG/CCT interruptions affect nucleosome formation and positioning of healthy-length CGG/CCG triplet repeats. BMC Biochemistry. 2013, 14, 1-12. 
  • Schermerhorn, K. M. and Delaney, S. Transient-state kinetics of apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonuclease 1 acting on an authentic AP site and commonly-used substrate analogs: The effect of diverse metal ions and base mismatches. Biochemistry. 2013, 52, 7669-7677.