New Faculty Profiles showcase GSA members who are establishing their first independent labs. If you’d like to be considered for a profile, please complete this form on the GSA website.


Irene Chiolo

Gabilan Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Southern California
Lab website


Research program:

We study the mechanisms of DNA repair in heterochromatin. This nuclear domain is highly enriched in repetitive sequences prone to aberrant recombination during double-strand break (DSB) repair. We discovered that ‘safe’ heterochromatic DSB repair relies on the relocalization of repair sites to the nuclear periphery, while homologous recombination is tightly regulated in space and time. Deregulation of this pathway results in massive aberrant recombination and chromosome rearrangements, revealing its importance for genome integrity. Using the Drosophila system, currently one of the best models for heterochromatin repair studies, we are now defining the molecular mechanisms involved in this critical and fascinating pathway. This research will ultimately contribute to our understanding of human diseases associated with genome instability, including developmental defects, cancer, and aging-related disorders.


I currently have open positions for both graduate students and postdocs. Contact 


Role of GSA in your career:

GSA keeps me informed about important meetings, awards, deadlines, and new discoveries.


Previous training experiences:

  • Undergraduate: University of Milan, yeast (Research Advisor: Marco Foiani)
  • Graduate: University of Milan, yeast (Research Advisor: Marco Foiani)
  • Post-doc: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab / University of California, Berkeley, Drosophila (Research Advisor: Gary Karpen)



I am teaching Molecular Biology (undergraduate), Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry (graduate), and Biology of Aging (graduate).