Julien Duxin credits the chemistry department at Missouri State for setting the pace for a promising, academic career. From Missouri State, he took off to two widely respected biochemistry programs: Washington University and Harvard Medical School.
“After completing my bachelor’s degree from MSU, I was accepted into one of the best PhD programs in the nation in my area of research (Washington University in St. Louis),” said Duxin. “Subsequently, this has led to a post-doctoral position in one of the best labs in the world for investigating detailed mechanism of DNA replication and repair.”
For Duxin, his experience in MSU’s department of chemistry helped him discover his passion for research.
“Doing research is fun. I wake up every morning with the curiosity to finding the answer to a question. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing, it’s like keeping the inner child entertained every day,” said Duxin. “Although very exciting at times, it can be extremely frustrating because frequently the answer I come up with is negative or inconclusive. However, the simple thought of finding the answer one day is enough to keep me going every morning with the same excitement.”
A passion for research and answering questions has led Duxin to explore cancer research at the DNA level.
“Before cells divide they need to successfully replicate their DNA so the genetic information can be transmitted from one cell to the other,” said Duxin. “Errors that occur during this process can be detrimental and can induce a variety of diseases, including cancer.”
Duxin’s research is currently focused on investigating the mechanism of replication-coupled repair of specific DNA lesions such as DNA interstrand cross-links.
“To study the molecular mechanism of replication-coupled repair the Walter laboratory utilizes frog egg extracts (from Xenopus laevis, the African clawed toad) that have an extraordinary capacity to recapitulate key events of DNA replication and repair,” said Duxin.
Duxin is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Johannes Walter’s laboratory at the Harvard Medical School. He hopes to one day run his own lab, specializing in the field of genomic stability.