Nancy Maizels, Ph.D.

Nancy Maizels, Ph.D.

Professor, Immunology and Biochemistry; Adjunct Professor, Pathology; Director, Molecular Medicine Program

Dr. Maizels was an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University, and she continued at Harvard as a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows. She was a Professor in the Departments of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and Genetics at Yale University School of Medicine before coming to the University of Washington in Fall, 2000.

Contact Info

Department of Immunology
University of Washington  
Office H474, HSC, Box 357650
1959 NE Pacific Street
Seattle WA 98195
Phone: 206-221-6876
Fax: 206-543-1013

Research Areas

  • Adaptive Immune Responses
    Cancer Immunology
    Molecular Immunology



Nancy Maizels

B cells diversify the sequences and structure of their immunoglobulin genes, to respond dynamically to infection by pathogenic microorganisms, so these cells provide insights in real time and physiological contexts into mechanisms of DNA mutagenesis and repair in all cell types. We study these mechanisms in molecular and subcellular detail. Some projects focus on elucidating mutagenic pathways; others on harnessing natural mechanisms of mutagenesis to accelerate antibody evolution; and others on learning how alternative structures formed by G-rich regions (G4 DNA) contribute to genomic instability and cancer. We employ a great variety of experimental tools, spanning biochemistry, genetics and cell biology. Our research has defined new mechanisms of genomic instability leading to cancer, and generated new approaches to vector-free gene therapy.

1. Davis L, Maizels N.  2014. Homology-directed repair of DNAnicks via pathways distinct from canonical double-strand break repair.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.  111:In Press.

2. Gray LT, Vallur AC, Eddy J and Maizels N.  2014.  G-quadruplexes are genomewide targets of transcriptional helicases XPB and XPD.  Nature Chem. Biol.  10:In Press.

3. Maizels N and Lupski JR.  2013.  Molecular and genetic bases of disease.  Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev.  23:229-231.

4. Maizels N.  2013.  Genome engineering with Cre-IoxP.  J. Immunol.  191:5-6.

5. Maizels N and Gray LT.  2013.  The G4 genome.  PLoS Genetics 9:e1003468.

6.  Kiianitsa K and Maizels N.  2013.  A rapid and sensitive assay for DNA-protein covalent complexes in living cells.  Nucleic Acids Res.  41:e104.

7. Eddy J., Vallur, A.C., Varma, S., Liu, H., Reinhold, W.C., Pommier, Y., and Maizels N. 2011. G4 motifs correlate with promoter-proximal transcriptional pausing in human genes. Nucleic Acids Res. 3/3/11

8. Eddy, J. and Maizels, N. 2011. Loss of genomic stability in cancer. In The Outlaw Cell, Lafond, R.E., ed. American Chemical Society Press (in press).

A.B., Biology-Physics, University of California Berkeley
Ph.D., Biophysics, Harvard University

Graduate Students
Henry Olson,

Postdoctoral Fellows
Lucas Gray,
Quy Le,

Laboratory Staff
Luther Davis,
Konstantin Kiianitsa,